Student athletes often have trouble getting the needed community service hours for their college applications.
Playing sports involves untold hours on the practice field and then on
the playing field. Combine those commitments with homework, school
projects and SAT or ACT preparation and for most students there is
little time left for involvement in other arenas of high school life. In
many cases community service projects fall to the wayside not out of
lack of interest, but rather lack of time. College admissions officers
look for the students who give their time to others. A strong community
service commitment also enhances college scholarship opportunities. All college application activity sheets have areas to list community service hours and project involvement.
Team booster clubs, in conjunction with the high school athletic departments, should work together to add a component of community service into each sports season. It is a win-win for both the athletes and the recipients of their service projects. Here are some great ideas for team projects that provide community service hours for the athletes as they help others. These projects are easy, inexpensive and fun. They actually can help build team spirit as the kids work as a team to help those in need.
Baseball Hit-A-Thon: Plan an hour one afternoon to gather the team and run your own Home Run Derby. Have the kids decide what organization will be the recipient of the monies collected. Then let your team members solicit friends, family and neighbors to commit a certain monetary amount for each homerun hit by the team members. Advertise your event in the local paper. Sell snacks and drinks that are donated by the booster families and donate those proceeds too. It is an easy event to plan and is fun for kids and parents alike. Make sure after the event that you publicize the amount donated to the organization. If someone takes a photo of the donation being given to the organization, send it in with the press release.
Here was a great idea the field hockey team used to raise money for Breast Cancer research. They made these using the "pink flamingo flock" that is a well known sign for breast cancer awareness. They they sold them around the school and at the big game.. all proceeds went to the foundation. It was a successful community service project.
Basketball Shoot Around – Run your event the same way outlined for the "Hit-A-Thon" but do it in the gym like the NBA All Star Dunk Contest. If your team can round up some NBA jerseys, they can wear them of their favorite pro player.
Share A Smile: Our football booster club donated “beanie baby” sized stuffed animals of the school mascot to a local hospital children's wing.
The players all got together and wrapped, ribboned and tagged these small gifts. Then they went over there to deliver these little gifts. Not sure what those children liked best, the toys or all those big guys spending some time with them. Don't be shy about asking for donations.. you may find a local business that is willing to be a corporate sponsor and donate the toys. Just make sure that you give the company credit in any press releases or publicity. Here are some of our boys busy at work on this project.
Food, Toy or Coat Drive – These are great for that big game where you are assured a lot of fans. Publicize your drive and ask all the fans to donate the specified item at the door of the game. The athletes then meet to sort, package and deliver the items to the specified charity. Perhaps the booster club could put together a pot luck dinner for the kids while they are preparing the items for delivery.
The Giving Jug The basketball team student athletes placed a "giving jug" in the lunch area and at the games and collected spare change during early February, just in time for Valentines Day. They then voted on what organization would receive the proceeds. Counted the monies and the school helped them to deposit and issue a check to the non-profit organization of their choice. It was a huge success.. pennies add up. See how they used this project for community service hours.
Hold A Team Car Wash: – This is a fun and easy way to earn community service hours.These are sometimes done as team fundraisers..but organize one and donate the proceeds. Sell tickets in advance as well as at the event. Mark on the tickets who the charity recipient will be. Our school allowed the car wash to be held on sight. The kids had a great time together washing the cars after a morning practice session and best of all.. the fun was for a good cause!
These are just a few ideas, I am sure that your booster club and student athletes could come up with even more!
By running one community service project each season, your student
athlete will have a well- developed community service resume to add to
their college application activity sheet by the time they are seniors.
In the interim they will have learned how to organize and run a service
project, earn community service hours and best of all, reach out to
help other people. If you need more information about applying to colleges see our section devoted to the college application process. Lots of helpful advice and tips.
Lots more ideas for high school sports team spirit as well as for booster club activities and fundraising. Check out our Team Spirit Ideas section!