For the good of the game (the poll)

Yesterday, I posted an archive of our coverage of South Kitsap Soccer Club and its history of friction, both within the club and within the hierarchy of youth soccer. This was in relation to a couple of articles we’ve run in our sports section about SKSC over the past couple of days. One dealt with the club’s change in affiliation to a state-level parent organization. The other was about the recent resignation of SKSC president Mike Kerr, who cited his disgust with the state of youth soccer on the Kitsap Peninsula.

I invite you to check out sports reporter Jeff Graham’s take on youth sports and those “games” that get played off the field.

Also, I’d like your take on Big Dawg’s comment on Jeff’s column about running youth sports organizations:
“The entire business model is broken. You need a GM who has actually run a large organization. They should be paid. Have a “volunteer Board” above them and a “volunteer” staff below them, however you need that stability and level of expertise.”

Take the poll on Peninsular Thinking Homepage.

7 thoughts on “For the good of the game (the poll)

  1. The strength of a youth sports organization lies in leadership skills, not whether someone is getting a paycheck.

    Many youth sports organizations in the area run smoothly because the leadership stays true to two things… 1. Their mission statement. 2. The Constitution and By-Laws of the organization.

    Who would recommend putting someone in charge of the money without some checks and balances? NO ONE! So, think of an organization’s mission statement and Constitution/By-Laws as the check and balance of the leadership. If leadership starts bypassing the checks and balances, that should be a huge red flag to the membership just like someone bypassing the checks and balances of the accountability for the money would raise red flags.

    My kids have participated in many great youth organizations in Kitsap County. I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer in support of those organizations. My observation is that things go awry when some of the adults start thinking that they are above the rules. Usually the other adults are quickly able to bring that into check and move forward. Unfortunately, in SKSC’s case, it became a series of dramas instead of being sorted out quickly and leaders modeling good behavior.

    If an organization is staying true to their mission, treating people respectfully, and modeling good behavior, then volunteers will be abundant.

    There have been lots of complaints about a lack of volunteers in SKSC. My experience and the experience of many others was that being treated with disrepect and out and out hostility created the lack of volunteers. Those of us who stepped up to attempt to instill some sanity were quickly villianized by some members of the board. Why would someone step up to volunteer when they see other volunteers taken to bogus disciplinary courts?

    Paid or non-paid, the leaders should be the examples for respect and courtesy. The most significant thing that caused SKSC to fall apart was the loss of leaders modeling respect and a failure to swim within the lanes given to them by the membership (i.e. the membership approved constitution/bylaws).

  2. Chris, nothing personal, but I really don’t care for the wording of your poll. It makes it impossible for me to answer.

    Is this poll about “cost and finance”?

    Or is it about “volunteer availability and capability”?

    I have been involved heavily enough not-for-profit sports related organizations to understand how this situation got to where it is to have seen it many times before.

    To answer the poll question itself:

    “Should youth sports organizations hire a paid manager, overseen by a volunteer board, as opposed to relying solely on volunteers?”

    That should be decided by the organization itself. Both volunteer run or paid to run have their own set of challenges and pitfalls and neither way would completely eliminate the core problem currently at hand with SKSC it would simply give those who are dissatisfied a different target to aim at.

    To answer the first option you give:

    • Yes, it’s too much to expect volunteers to run what is essentially a nonprofit business.

    I would say. No it is not too much to expect. To agree with Katherine, poorly behaving or poorly performing individuals will behave and perform poorly regardless as to whether or not they are being compensated. It is not a lot of work if there are many trustworthy dedicated hands involved under a system of checks and balances to spread the load around.

    To answer the second option you give:

    “No, it would add too much to the cost.”

    For me this option of an answer has nothing to do with the first option of an answer. The related cost factor also depends on what the membership or the consumer of the product is willing to tolerate and allow.

    An interesting point I would like to point out from my own involvement in youth sports, an organization I am involved with implemented a “pay off the hook” option for parents that are not interested in helping out. They simply only want to attend games and drop/pickup their kids from practice every day. A rather surprisingly large number of individuals jump at the option of paying a monetary amount that they feel cleans their conscious. However the example they set with this behavior lives with them forever and eventually when their own children exhibit this same behavior by paying whatever it takes to ship them off to assisted living to clean their own conscious of uninvolvement the cycle doles out its own particular type of justice.

  3. Colleen – I don’t take constructive criticism personally, so no worries.

    Your point about the “buy-out” option is interesting. At first it was applied to fund-raisers. I’m guessing parents who opted for the buy-out either couldn’t or didn’t want to take the time to sell whatever product was being hawked and/or they didn’t want to have to buy and then consume whatever portion they were unable to sell.

    One could look at the buy-out of volunteer time two ways. On the one hand, it could be seen to set the precedent you mention. Parents who choose this option could be seen as shirking their duty to pitch in and losing a chance to set a good example for their kids. On the flip side, parents who are stretched to the max time-wise for whatever reason could be seen to be setting a good example for their kids by judiciously managing their time and giving the message “you don’t have to be all things to all people.”

    It’s interesting that the fund-raiser and volunteer buy-outs are fairly new options (at least in my experience). I wonder what this says about life in the 21st Century.

    Chris Henry, reporter

  4. Chris, part of the thought behind implementing the buyout was the uninvolved are not going to help out regardless, but still manage to complain quite a bit. So why not implement a fee that would financially benefit the organization and be used to improve or eliminate the things these people complain about in the first place:-)

    Really it’s become more of a self-preservation sanity tactic for those of us who work our behinds off the entire season.

  5. Oh and a side by product of implementing the buyout option? A small reduction in the amount of scholarships needed. The trade off for a scholarship is that you (the parent) work all season for the organization so your kid can play at a reduced fee. When the option of the buyout appeared so did a larger percentage of the money to not only pay for the full registration fee but the buyout amount as well.

    Yes, I also wonder what this says about life in the 21st Century. It really is all about lifestyle choices.

  6. I am two generations away from current youth sports but I believed kids need sports and my kids were involved with every sport they were interested in and I could afford – time and assorted costs…eg: PeeWee basketball, football, baseball…drill team, horse 4-H etc. Soccer was not an option here at that time.

    I don’t recall any conflict within the organizations, nor was lack of volunteers a problem.

    I did not volunteer with these organizations – I don’t recall being asked (4-H exception) and I had no time to spare. If that fact had eliminated my kids from participating, so be it.

    I will say that had ugly adult bickering and petty nonsense existed back then I would have pulled my kids from participating until the bickering adults stopped being children, got their act together and grew up.

    When adults loose sight of the ‘big picture’ an organization formed for the kids benefit only and fight among themselves, they show the kids raw, opposite side of ‘good sportsmanship’.

    Whatever happened to class good sportsmanship and for the good of the organization?
    In my opinion…Sharon O’Hara

  7. Funny thing – I never had a complaint about any of the organizations and the people actively volunteering their time to make their passion work to benefit the kids.
    In my time, those who complained about anything was first in line to change it…to put their money where their mouth was.
    Sharon O’Hara

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