FAQS - ANSWERED
If you are like me—a parent in Township, with kids in school, in sports, and in other various activities, you don’t pay attention to every detail. Up until last week, I had no idea what the Burlington Township Sports Club Foundation (BTSCF) was, what it did, and how it how it interacts with the recreation department. I was curious, so I reached out to the new Director of Recreation Diane Flannery, and was able to take up a few minutes of her time to get a better understanding of the relationship between the Recreation Department and the BTSCF.
The Sports Club has been around forever (well almost)
The Burlington Township Sports Club started fifty years ago with the intention of supplementing recreational fees for sports programs. Let’s face it. It costs money to have a recreational sports program. Our township wants to provide an affordable program for all to enjoy. I am not sure if you are aware, but the registration fees in some towns are in excess of $100.00 for an individual sport! The Sports Club has been subsidizing those fees, and we currently have an extremely low registration fee of $30.00 for most individual sports.
A new look, team, and direction
In 2013, the Sports Club transitioned into the Burlington Township Sports Club Foundation, and began the application process to become a 501c3 charity. In January 2014, the BTSCF made another major transition, by appointing a new Board of Directors. This new team is comprised of Steve Macrae, Don Neff, Kris Smith, Carl Budden, and Matt Kawalski. This new board is focused on developing a cohesive fundraising plan, with all sports putting in an effort in contribution. The board will also take into consideration the fundraising plans of the schools and other town organizations to avoid duplicate events and conflicting schedules. The Sports Club is also now officially a 501c3 charity, so all your contributions to the foundation are tax deductible! In addition, the club provides scholarships to High School students in town ($2,000 was awarded to 4 members of the 2014 graduating class), and helps families in need with registration fees.
Fundraisers help all recreational sports programs
When the sports club hosts a fundraiser, the money is used for all the recreational sports as needs come up. When you go to a sport-specific fundraiser, the majority of the money is ear-marked for that sport. However, a portion goes to the general fund, to aid sports that do not draw the same amount of participants or have the ability to fundraise and to pay for administrative cost such as licenses, insurance, accountant’s fees. So, if you are a hockey family, go to the football breakfast, the soccer sub sale (I just can’t call them hoagies yet), and buy a Falcon Frenzy tee shirt—your sport and others will benefit!
The Sports Club is looking to be creative
Over and above the normal fundraising programs currently in place, the Sports Club is looking at creating larger scale events that will create revenue, promote local business, and build stronger community relationships. Ideas include family fun as well as adult nights out. In addition, they are looking at creating alternative avenues of revenue that will center around a newly designed and growing website with a stronger sponsorship promotional program.
Sometimes it is not as simple as it seems
“Why don’t they sell food for the soccer games?” I know I am not the only one that has said it. Did you know that “Green Acres” is more than just the soccer fields/park on Old York Rd? I didn’t. Green Acres is a state program that started in the 1960’s with a focus on maintaining open space for recreation and conservation. Most of the fields in town are a part of Green Acres. With that designation comes numerous state regulations regarding food sale and preparation, use of space, etc. The sports club is looking at the specifics of these regulations to see how the spaces can provide concessions, and hold fundraising opportunities in the future.
What can I do to help?
First and foremost, going forward, please bookmark their website www.btscf.com , and reach your individual sport sites from there. In addition to seeing town-wide information about the sports programs, that extra click will help drive traffic to the website, helping develop the sponsorship programs. Second, “Like” their Facebook page. In the coming months, updates about all sports, team results, and general sports information will flow consistently through this Facebook page. Thirdly, if it is not on the website yet, a sign-in to receive a periodic newsletter will be there shortly. Sign up for that. Currently in the planning stages, the newsletter will have recreational information as well as coupons and special offers from sponsors.
Lastly…VOLUNTEER. Trust me, it is not an ugly word. Attend meetings when you can, but if you can’t, let the board members know you can help. Tasks like contacting potential/current sponsors, compiling lists, and staffing events all need volunteers. Even if you can only give a few hours a month, that will go a long way. Email the board and let them know what you can do to contribute. firstname.lastname@example.org
Why am I doing this?
Ask my wife, and “Because he am crazy!” will be the response. Free time is precious. I definitely get that. I covet rainy Sunday afternoon naps as much as anyone. However, the reason I started asking around, and looking to help is, because I am grateful for the sports programs that helped shape my childhood. Sports meant a lot to me, and to my friends. People think the times have changed, but they haven’t. Sure, kids talk in the dugout about Minecraft and not Zelda, but they are the same as we were, and they deserve the best sports program that we can provide them. Whether it is the introduction of sports through our clinics, participation in the fun, learning-first environment of the recreation teams, or the in the thrill of the competitive travel programs, I want the best…for my kids and yours.
Jason Parsons—parent, coach, volunteer