I have played sports my entire life, specifically soccer. As a parent, I put all three of my children in sports through their school and also at a club level. As the seasons passed I became irritated that scheduling for games and practices appeared to be last min or only a week in advance. It is hard enough to balance the lives of three kids but not having clarity on what was going on a week in advance was frustrating.
Then I became a coach. I could see the perspective of both the parents and from my point of view as a coach. What was missing was transparency in everything. Parents had no idea where booster money went, when camps or next seasons sign up were going to happen, and in this case, how do you funnel kids from kindergarten to 6th grade into a high school platform? Mind you, these are all private schools individually supports under one county umbrella.
After looking at each major sport that the schools had to offer, spending time talking to parents, administrators and coaches, we came up with a set of tools to solve the challenge of transparency. Transparency was not just with parents to coaches, it was also to groups of coaches, who at the time just did what they needed to do to accomplish their seasons goals. Once the season ended, where did these athletes stand with either, the next seasonal sport or the next season of their sport?
Most people do not realize that 90% of all sports programs run on booster money or donations. Fees for the sports pay for some uniforms and insurance. It does not cover the field maintenance, equipment, coach’s costs, and improvement projects.
Back to tools. We created Saint Youth Sports out of the necessity to retool the Catholic Schools of a Broome County’s sports program. By building a platform where everyone could see the calendar of events on a seasonal basis and when camps or pickup games are occurring. Showing the projects and needs of the entire program while providing donors a place to directly contribute to a specific project they care about. Allowing donors to receive tax benefits to their contributions and show the progress of a project as it progresses. Setting up vendors to provide spirit wear and merchandise that can be bought directly off the site and returns a portion of sales back to the booster program. Allowing parents to showcase their child on the site by a submittal process.
Finally the most important part, the student athletes. Providing athletes resources to help them develop their skills. As an addition to the site, we started to use the Team Snap App to manage an athlete’s sports profile. This allows a workflow from K all the way through to 12th grade, where coaches no longer have to hunt down parent’s information and can communicate more effectively with athletes, parents, and other coaches.
Now before we pat ourselves on the back, a great big thank you needs to also be given to everyone outside of our organization who helped with this project and will continue to help with this project. This type of project would never possible without everyone’s help.
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