As lacrosse continues to grow, it becomes even more important for additional members of our community to get involved, and keep the momentum going. Think about it this way – when we are successful in getting more kids to pick up sticks, it means there are more lacrosse players out there in need of coaching, and therefore, we need more coaches. The same is true for equipment, referees, administrators, organizers, and just about any area within the game.
To keep the game growing, more involvement from everyone is simply required. It’s an issue of scale!
All of the above, and any call to action, sounds good on its face, but without some idea of what can actually be done, “getting involved” can seem a little daunting. With work, family, school and a bunch of other possible concerns, making the commitment to coach a team full-time, or supplying sticks for an entire program is a lot to ask. For many people, their lives simply don’t allow for that kind of gift. But that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done. Sometimes it’s best to start small.
In New York City for example, there is a great program called CityLax, which supports public school lacrosse programs in the Big Apple. Through CityLax, volunteers can choose a number of different ways to get involved, including full-time high school coaching, fundraising, gear donations, weekend clinic opportunities, and more. There are a number of programs like CityLax out there across the country (Denver CityLax, MetroLacrosse in Boston, Harlem Lacrosse, to name just a few) and your best bet for finding something local is to search the old Google machine, or talk to people in the lacrosse community. If there is a program, or team in need, your local lacrosse community will likely help you find it!
The best thing about all of this is, you never know where it will take you, what lives it will change, or even what it might do for you when you need it most.
When I moved to NYC, I got a job in an office, wore a suit, and joined the rat race. Something was definitely missing, and it didn’t take me long to figure out that “something” was definitely lacrosse. I picked up a set up pads, and a stick, and I started playing again. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. And yet, I still felt like I was missing out on something in my life.
Then I found CityLax, and everything changed for the better.
CityLax was Growing The Game in a major way, and before I got involved, they had started up a couple of different high school teams in the City. I couldn’t get out of work to coach a team, but I found out that CityLax also offered FREE Winter Clinics for high schools players (they still do these clinics!) on weekends, and that’s how I dipped my toe in the water. I made the trip out to Brooklyn six times that first winter, and I was hooked. I fixed kids sticks, I taught them the game, and somehow, I felt whole again.
From there I went on to volunteer at Public School Athletic League “play days”, I did more clinics, and I joined the Junior Advisory Board, finding ways to give more of my time. Eventually, I left my office job and got LaxAllStars.com going full-time, and I’d be lying if I said CityLax, and the kids I encountered while volunteering, weren’t a big part of my reason for leaving the corporate world behind. I found more ways to get involved, I helped start a new HS team, and now I’m working on a new project in Brooklyn, and it’s all come from getting involved as a volunteer 8 long years ago.
The fact that I played lacrosse and wanted to give back has reshaped my life. It started small, but over time I was able to find ways to make it a bigger and bigger part of my daily routine. Now I focus on lacrosse full-time, and Growing The Game is what it’s all about.
If you want to “get involved” the best advice I can give you is to just find a way to do it. Even if it’s only an hour or two a week, or six clinics over the Winter, it makes a difference. You never know where this new path will lead you, and if you have a hole in your life that you can’t fill, I’d recommend giving service a shot!
If you’re in NYC, check out the call to action below from CityLax. From personal experience alone I can tell you this is a very worthwhile thing to do, and I hope anyone who can help out, will do so! Please see below!
If you’re not in NYC, spend five minutes looking up lacrosse organizations in your area. Find one that needs help, and give just a little bit of your time. This WILL improve the quality of kids’ lives, and YOUR life. In a couple weeks you can hit me up on Twitter (@ConnorWilsonLAS) and tell me how right I was, and how you can’t wait to do even more.
The most valuable thing you can give a child is your time. Jeremy Thompson told me this once, and it’s stuck with me for one big reason – it’s true. So make it happen.
CityLax’s NYC Winter Clinics 2018 NEED Volunteer Coaches
CityLax, a 501 C 3 organization, dedicated to growing the game inside NYC public schools and underserved communities, is in its 12th year of running FREE winter clinics on the weekends in 6 locations in the 5 boroughs. The clinics are attracting record numbers of student-athletes from the schools.
We are in need of more Volunteer coaches (with college playing experience; previous coaching experience also a plus) for our clinics coming up on January 27-8, February 3-4, February 10-11, and February 17-18. Each clinic has a site captain/coach that coordinates the practice plan for each session. If you are motivated to give something back to the game and interested, go to:
Questions, contact CityLax Director of Operations and Marketing, Brett Gieras: 978-766-1502; email@example.com.