I'd like to share with you an email I received earlier this afternoon in response to Wednesday's blog.
"Dear Bekah, As you may know, one of our staff members saw your blog regarding Robert Garner, and shared that information with me. We quickly determined that Mr. Garner was on our “Ineligible for Membership” list, and took immediate action: - AAU learned that the event you referenced was sanctioned by a member club called “Champions Gymnastics Academy”. Although a different individual is the director of the event, the event flyer indeed lists Mr. Garner’s name. - AAU made the immediate decision to revoke the sanction due to Mr. Garner’s affiliation with the event operations. - I contacted the event director, Ms. Jennifer Sawyer, to advise her of the revocation. Ms. Sawyer did not answer, so a detailed message was left. I also followed up with an email notice of the revocation of sanction. - The event was immediately deleted from our AAU database and online “Find an Event” page. In partnership with Ron Ferris, the AAU National Gymnastics Chair, we are preparing a notice to send out to our clubs. Mr. Ferris and all of AAU’s leadership and staff are deeply committed to setting and maintaining the highest standards of safety and monitoring in order to protect our AAU youth competitors. Our practices and procedures are constantly evolving and improving, and we look forward to the upcoming release of the AAU Task Force Report and Recommendations. Convened in December 2011, AAU’s Youth Protection Task Force and the Adult/Volunteer Screening Task Force are in the final stages of their work. Once their joint report is issued, we will move swiftly to implement their recommendations. Sincerely, Jan Lyon Compliance Director of AAU"
Thank you all for spreading the word. We can make a difference. Seriously, thank you, and if you shared the link, YOU are one of the people who made this happen. I hope that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling; it should.
If you see something going on that shouldn't be, realize that change IS possible. Don't be complacent; speak up about it.
Please sign the petition, if you haven't to demand background checks for all coaches who work with children in the US.