By Steve Stenersen | @uslacrosseceo
US Lacrosse completed its 15th year of operation on December 31, 2013, and it was a year of opportunity, impact, progress and, at times, challenges for our young nonprofit.
Amidst a busy year of growth and expanding infrastructure, the overarching goal of US Lacrosse remains—to provide the national leadership, investment and administration required to responsibly grow the sport in the best interests of current and future players. Everything we do is grounded in the experience of those who play, and we remain focused on improving the quality and consistency of resources in order to attract and retain players.
Coaches and officials are the most important human resources required to provide players with a safe and enjoyable experience, and our national standards for education and certification of coaches and officials continue to be embraced throughout the country—although there is still much work to do to assure that every youth and high school coach and official is properly trained.
Perhaps the two most important areas of strategic focus for US Lacrosse are player safety and sport accessibility, and both have the potential to negatively impact the growing popularity of lacrosse. If we don’t effectively balance game integrity with player safety, and lacrosse increasingly is viewed as an overly injurious activity, parents will steer their children away from our sport. And, if lacrosse continues to be viewed as an exclusive sport that is not welcoming to every child, our sport’s potential will not be realized. US Lacrosse has expanded staff and increased investment in these two strategic priorities thanks to the support of our members and donors, and the pages of this year’s annual report will showcase some noteworthy examples in that regard.
To improve our ability to connect with and serve regional constituencies throughout the country, we recently completed and launched significant changes to our regional chapter program. The structure and operational focus of US Lacrosse chapters are now much more refined and aligned with national priorities. Additionally, we have defined eight US Lacrosse regions throughout the country and have begun hiring embedded regional staff to support chapter operations and program/league collaboration.
Effectively documenting activity and progress across such a wide range of US Lacrosse operations in an easily-digestible annual report is very difficult, but I hope that these pages provide a dynamic snapshot of the depth and breadth of our efforts on your behalf and thanks to your support.
Like any team, we will celebrate accomplishment and, occasionally stumble, but always strive to rise to the challenges before us and achieve our potential. The need for national leadership and advocacy focused on the best interests of the sport and its participants has never been more essential, and US Lacrosse will strive to meet that ongoing responsibility for years to come.
CEO, US Lacrosse
Chair, US Lacrosse Board of Directors
Chair, US Lacrosse Foundation Board of Directors
Download a copy of our 2013 Annual Report to learn more about how we’re providing leadership, delivering education, creating opportunity and ensuring safety for the national lacrosse community.