Five Super Ideas Your Organization Can Try

At CoachDeck we talk to thousands of youth sports organizations each year. And our conversations have uncovered some wonderful, creative examples of things clubs and leagues are doing to recognize achievement, give back to the community and enrich the experience for all. So here are five excellent programs that you can put into place with little or no cost, minor effort, but great results.

Student Honor Roll
Del Mar Little League in Del Mar, California has been a CoachDeck customer every year since we began in 2007. That fact alone proves their board of directors is pretty smart. But an even better indication is the “Academic All-American Program” they implemented for the 2010 season. Recognizing students for good grades is always a great idea and is simple and free using your organization’s website. See how DMLL did it here.

Give a Lifetime Achievement Award
Got a special volunteer who has been the bedrock of your organization for decades? What better honor to bestow on him or her than to name a field or other league property (snack bar, etc.) in their honor. Newspapers and other media outlets love to promote positive human-interest stories like these and this is the type of recognition that promotes and encourages volunteerism. Take a look at what Jersey City did to honor one of their own.

Create a Scholarship
Another unique way to honor a special volunteer or other member of your organization is to create an annual college scholarship in their name. The website for Malden East Little League’s provides an excellent example. This is something the league could fund with just a few hundred dollars each year, or is an outstanding program for a local donor to sponsor.

Soccer Club Helps Haiti
Marshfield Youth Soccer stepped up to help Haitian earthquake victims
. Closer to home, there are plenty of local, less affluent youth sports leagues in every city that would love to receive those old mitts, balls, bats and cleats lying around in your families’ garages. Organize an equipment drive at one of your upcoming events, such as Opening Day or Closing Ceremonies.

Create a Volunteer of the Year Award
Every year it seems there is that special someone who goes above and beyond. Why not set up a special section on your league website to recognize each year’s most dedicated volunteer? You can easily create a special “Volunteer of the Year” section of your website to preserve their names for posterity. This, perhaps along with a simple presentation of a plaque and dinner gift certificate at a monthly board meeting will suffice to make those special folks who go above and beyond the call of duty feel like heroes.

When organizations show their appreciation in these or any of the above manners, the natural by-product is that more and more people want to be included and offer to volunteer.

There are so many creative ideas to use youth sports as a vehicle to improve and enrich our communities. These are just a few. Are there other great ideas you can share?

Brian Gotta is a former professional youth baseball coach and current volunteer Little League coach and board member. He is the President of CoachDeck and also author of four youth sports novels which can be found at www.sportsbooks4kids.com. He can be reached at brian@coachdeck.com.

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