Community Service Ideas for Sports Team
UC San Diego compiled a list of the top 10 reasons to volunteer as part of a community service. Some of these benefits include gaining professional experience, bringing people together, learning and personal growth.
Sports teams, especially, have a lot to gain from community involvement. One high school football coach had this to say about his team’s volunteerism:
Community service not only benefits the recipients of the good deeds but also benefits my team by infusing leadership skills in my athletes. For example, when the junior football players chose to have a work day at our local park, they had to organize their teammates, coordinate their efforts with city employees, and gather paint, brushes and other tools before spending a day of work at the park. This creates team building, organization skills, and memories outside of the games. I would also contend that the athletes end up benefiting as much as the recipients.
There are hundreds of ways a sports team can help out, but we’ve selected just a few to review by category.
- Become sports camp counselors
- Start a summer sports camp for young kids
- Help coach kids in youth sports leagues
- Work with daycares to implement physical activities
- Plan a used sports equipment drive for needy families
- Hand out water at local races
- Help at a local Special Olympics event
- Run in a charity race (or create a new one)
- Plan a sports training day at the local Boys & Girls club or YMCA
- Rake and mow lawns for those unable to do so
- Pick up litter
- Adopt a Highway
- Ask the city how to help clean up or paint over graffiti
- Help build a Habitat for Humanity home
Youth Intervention & Education
- Join or start a group like Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Tutor younger students
- Start a group to walk kids home from school
- Collect baby supplies for young families
- Run a book donation drive
- Volunteer for the local library’s literary program
- Plant trees
- Host a recycling contest at school
- Start a neighborhood or school garden
- Help at a local animal shelter or animal control office
- Organize an Earth Day community event
- Design and distribute flyers with tips on easy ways to be “green”
For the Homeless and Hungry
- Plan a food drive
- Plan a clothing drive
- Deliver or dispense food for a local food pantry
- Serve meals at a church or shelter
- Sort donated items for a local charity
- Run a fundraiser for a local charity
Try to directly contact local charities and organizations to see if they need volunteers. For instance, there are charities that collect shoes, eyeglasses or other useful items. They constantly need help bringing in donations, whether it’s advertising their charity’s purpose or picking up items left in drop-boxes. Nationwide organizations like United Way are always looking for help.
Also check with volunteer organizations like Lion’s Heart, which coordinates teen volunteers based on city and age. Together, the teens figure out how to contribute to their communities and carefully track the hours they volunteer. If there’s not a chapter for this type of organization near you, consider having the team start one.
Things to Remember With Volunteer Work
Remember that volunteer work is especially useful to keep the team active together during the off-season and during summer break for student athletes. Try to have the team decide what they want to do and then organize the process themselves rather than giving them a time and place to show up. The more involved they are in the planning and execution, the more meaningful and beneficial the community service will be.
Don’t forget to remind the team why they are volunteering. Volunteers report being happier, having higher self-esteem and self-confidence, and finding a new gratitude and appreciation for the people in their lives. These elements can lead to better unity and performance as a team. Volunteering can also help build the resume for future jobs and college applications. Many scholarship foundations take volunteer hours into consideration when reviewing applicants. Sports teams involved in community service projects also have a boosted public image, which can make it easier to raise funds needed for new uniforms, equipment and summer camps.
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