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Creating a not-for-profit youth sports organization

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TeamPages

There may a be a number of reasons you want to start your own not-for-profit youth organization.  Maybe there aren’t enough clubs in your area to service the number of local kids.  Perhaps the existing organizations are insufficient in quality and the community wants other options.  Or it’s just your love of sports and helping youths achieve greatness that has driven you to want to create a new club.

Whatever the reason, I’ll leave you with some tips to getting started and hurdles you might run into while setting things up and jumping into your very first season!  Please note that although this is will be a great read before getting started, you should always check local bylaws and regulations and understand that there may be other risks not outlined here.  Always over-do your research to fully understand what you will be getting into before beginning such a huge project.  Check out the government sites for starting a not-for-profit organization in Canada or starting a not-for-profit organization in the US.

Initial Steps

Start by forming a discovery committee which will likely become the first Board of Directors.  Chances are you’re starting this as a result of a conversation with other like-minded parents who came together with a common goal, but if not you should find some people to help you in this.  You’ll want to start out by identifying what your goals are and why you’re trying to start this organization.  Create your vision and mission statement (check out this resource for a bit of help on this).

With your newly established team, get ready to research until you think you’ve covered everything you can – then research some more!  Some things you’ll want to look into:

  • Demographics – Are there enough families and children to justify starting a new club and to fill your rosters?  You’ll need to not only find out local census information but also survey if there’s enough interest in the sport among the available families.

  • Locations – This is something that many people overlook when making the decision to start a new club.  Even existing clubs run into this issue on a regular basis.  You’ll need to not only have an inventory of all the venues there are in the area, but you’ll usually need to secure permits to play and practice at them.  Coordinating with the permit issuer can be challenging, time-consuming, and you may be denied for various reasons.  Sometimes you’ll need to use creative channels to secure venue time (for example bypassing the municipal body that issues these permits and going directly to a school’s athletic director to use their fields and courts).

  • Affiliations – You will need to select a state/provincial affiliation to tie yourself to, especially when running travel teams.  This will be another application process to endure, however, typically there are vehicles in place and easy-to-fill online forms to make this process quick and painless.

BOD & Governance

You may have a large part of your board already established at this point (initial team), but you’ll still need to have a formal meeting to elect them and find some more people for other areas.  You should try to find people with experience in the role they’ll be filling, along with experience in (and a passion for) youth sports and youth development.  For example, having a treasurer with a background in accounting will be a huge asset in running a successful club.  You’ll need to make sure that everyone is willing to put in a large amount of work and share a common vision for the club.

Accountability will be very crucial when drafting up your organizational and BOD bylaws.  This is to deter any type of illegitimate/fraudulent activity among your club’s leadership.  As your membership base increases, so will the flow of cash through the club making it important that you set safeguards to prevent any theft.  Implement term limits so that members don’t remain in their position for too long.  Make all club information public so that full transparency can be established with its members.  Run background checks as well to reduce the likelihood that the board houses any potential threats.  To learn more about this and building trust in your club in general, check out an earlier article I wrote.

Additional Tasks

There are many other items to check off while going through this process, including:

  • Coaches/Officials – You’ll need to carefully source out and select coaches and refs.  You may want to search for local registries to find existing personnel, as well as use your membership base to search out parents internally who can commit to filling these roles.  Offer resources on courses to train people.

  • Volunteers – Create job lists and reach out to parents in initial postings online and offline.  Volunteers will be crucial as club funds will be extremely low in the beginning stages.

  • Liability Insurance – Many local jurisdictions mandate that your club has insurance in the case of accidents incurred during play/practice.

  • Uniforms/equipment – A large portion of your funds will be going to equipment and uniforms, and chances are you’ll need to run some initial fundraisers to help lower these costs to families.  The more expensive equipment is, the more kids will be unable to join.

  • Website/social media – Using the available web tools will be essential in communicating with families and getting info such as schedules and announcements to parents.

  • Marketing – Here are some tips from an earlier article I wrote on solidifying your position in the community as a leading organization.


As I mentioned, this list is far from exhaustive and should only serve as an initial starting off point.  From here you’re about to embark on an incredibly busy yet fulfilling new endeavor!  Hopefully, you’re able to use this to develop a solid foundation and put the infrastructure in place that will help the club remain successful year over year.

Game Day Nutrition Guide

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nutrition

There are many aspects involved in training for a sport. Mental and physical training are keys to development in any sport. While a lot of athletes focus mainly on physical training, nutrition tends to get left behind. Eating right is part of growing stronger and the same applies to the sport of hockey.

Hockey players are some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world. Yes, a lot of this comes from strength and conditioning. But exercise is nothing without a proper diet. Balanced meals help jump start your brain and allow you to have that mental edge on the ice. Eating a variety of foods gives you the different carbs, proteins, and fats you need in decision making as well.

One of the worst things you can do is eat large meals before games. Balanced meals that are easily digestible are recommended so that you don’t have an upset stomach during your time on the ice.

Another key to proper nutrition is staying hydrated. The game of hockey will take a lot out of you and it is important to stay hydrated during your shifts and even after the game is over. You will need to replenish the fluids that you lost during a game.

NHL players follow a certain regimen so that they are able to make smart plays and help their fellow teammates. Mental and physical training is important, but players should keep track of what they are consuming. If you want to play right, then you must eat and drink right.

Click the arrows in the bottom right hand corner to expand to full screen.

Hockey Team Nutrition from Pro Stock Hockey, a company that offers Pro Stock NHL
Hockey Pants
, Sticks, and Gloves

How To: Add an Image to a Page or Widget

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TeamPages Adding Images

Custom pages and widgets can contain any combination of text, images, and links.  In this post, we will be going over how to add an image to your page and size it for your needs.

1. Create a custom page from menus and pages area of your website settings, or edit an existing page.

TeamPages image upload

 

2. Click on the image icon to launch the image uploader window.

TeamPages image upload

 

3. Navigate to the ‘Upload’ tab and choose a file from your computer. Once chosen, click ‘Send it to the Server’.

TeamPages image upload

 

4. When the server is done processing your image, you will be directed back to the ‘Image Info’ tab.  Here, you can edit the size of your image.

TeamPages image upload

 

5. If you would like your image to link somewhere, you can set the link URL in under the ‘Link’ tab.

TeamPages image upload

 

5. Click save to place the image on the page. Much like text, you can select the image and use the paragraph alignment tools to move it from the left to the center or right side.

TeamPages image upload

Make sure to save your custom page!

We hope this post on adding an image to your page or widget has been helpful. If you need any assistance with this, you can contact our friendly support team at support@teampages.com.

Getting Started: Customizing the Navigation

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TeamPages Navigation

Your TeamPages website comes with default pages included the navigation. You can remove items, add pages and links, and rename items in your settings area. Let’s get started!

Navigate to your Menus & pages settings area. You will notice that there are two listings of nav items. The items on the left are the items in your current menu bar. The items on the right are all the items you are not currently using.

TeamPages Navigation

Click and hold to drag items between the sides. You will notice a yellow box appear, indicating where the menu item will land. Put it in the order stack where you would like it in the menu bar (top to bottom = left to right).

TeamPages Navigation

IMPORTANT – Whenever you make a change to your menus and pages, you must click save at the bottom of the menu stack to see it appear in the live menu.

 

You may wish to group items together in dropdown menus to clean up your navigation. Click the blue ‘New Dropdown Menu’ button to create a dropdown. 

TeamPages Navigation

Drag the dropdown into place in the stack and add any items you want into the dropdown box.

TeamPages Navigation

Once I hit save on my dropdown menu, I can see it in action.  Dropdown menus can be placed within dropdown menus if needed.

TeamPages Navigation

 

You can add as many pages as you like to your TeamPages site. Click ‘New Page’ to get started. TeamPages Navigation

Once you save your new page, it will appear in the available menu options list. You will notice all custom pages have edit and delete buttons on the right.  Also included in the available options are any forms you have created.

TeamPages Navigation

Much like adding a custom page, you can add a custom link. If you have an external website you want to link to directly from the navigation, click new link to add in your URL.

TeamPages Navigation

 

Any menu item can be renamed to suit your organization. Simple double click on the text to rename the menu item.

TeamPages Navigation

By default, you will be editing your ‘main’ menu. This is the menu bar that runs across the top of the page.  You also have access to a secondary menu and, for some themes, a tertiary menu too. The secondary menu typically shows either just below the main menu or on the left side of the page.  Here is a visual breakdown of the main (1), secondary (2), and tertiary (3) navigation placements on each theme.

TeamPages Navigation

You can activate these other menus by choosing to edit them in the dropdown menu.

TeamPages Navigation

 

If you are running a league, club, or organization with sub-teams, you will notice that you can also control what information is on each menu at every level.  

TeamPages Navigation

You get to decide if your main organization menu stays in place at each level, or is replaced with team-specific nav. We recommend having a consistent league or club navigation as your main nav, and letting the team navigation use the secondary nav spot.

TeamPages Navigation

 

If you need help getting your menus and pages set up on your TeamPages website, you can contact our friendly support team anytime at support@teampages.com.

TeamPages Settings Update

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SettingsIntroducing the improved TeamPages settings area!  If you are an administrator of a team, club, or league, we have made updates to the settings area to improve your experience updating your website.

The updates that allow you to:

  • Easily find what you are looking for
  • See all the options upfront
  • Clearly understand all the features available
  • View your subscription details and upgrade with ease (individual teams only)

 

The Settings Menu

One of the biggest changes to the settings area is the settings menu on the left side of the page. We grouped similar settings together in categories, to make things easier to find and identify.  Want to change the way your website looks? Check out the appearance section. Need to add a new website admin? Look in the administration section.  Easy to find, easy to update. Check out the before and after below to see the changes!

Settings

 

A little Re-organizing

Over time, we have added features on features on features to TeamPages, and the settings area grows with every addition.  We try to put the settings for those features in a logical place, but sometimes, as things progress, that logic no longer holds true.  This update was a nice opportunity to recognize where things were out of place and move some things around.

For example:

  • ‘Logo and Colors’ is now its own menu item.
  • Within league settings, team seasons, divisions, and administrators have been separated into individual menu items.
  • ‘Role Permission’ is its own menu item. Use this area to indicate what administrators can and can’t do.

Settings

 

Advanced Settings

There were some places in settings where we offered ‘advanced settings’ hidden behind an advanced settings link. We have decided to show all settings, advanced or otherwise, and move the hiding/showing of settings areas. More clear and more accessible.

Settings

 

Mobile Friendly

Have you ever opened a lightbox on your phone?  Or had a pop-up take over your screen and had trouble finding the little ‘x’ in the corner so you could close it? This is such a frustrating experience, and we want you to be able to easily update your settings anytime, anywhere.  We had some lightboxes throughout the settings area which we have now replaced with on-page content.

 

Team Subscription Information

Our basic team website package is free.  We offer a robust team management ‘Pro’ package for teams that are looking to use our full suite of TeamPages features. With these new updates, Basic and Pro users alike can go to their subscription settings and see what package they are currently using, upgrade if needed, and get details on expiry dates and pricing.

Settings

 

New Features

We recently released custom contact pages, a new feature for TeamPages.  You will see the settings for this page in your menu under ‘content’. Here, you can add a list of contacts, coaches, or administrators as well as any important locations for your Organizations. You can read more about this new feature and get instructions for setting it up here.

Settings


Let us know what you think of our settings area re-design in the comments below! We would love to hear your thoughts. If you have any trouble with this new design, you can contact us anytime at support@teampages.com or Monday-Friday 9-5 PST at 1-800-500-7203.

The Importance of Building Trust

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“With downcast eyes and a microphone clenched in one fist, Brian Farley stood uneasily before nearly 400 children from the Tri-Boro Youth Soccer Club in eastern Pennsylvania.  He had stolen their money.”

Stories like this one, excerpted from this NY Times article, are sad reality afflicting youth sports today.  Mr. Farley had embezzled $120,000 from parents who believed their money was going towards their children’s uniforms, field times, travel, etc.  Along with theft we’re constantly exposed to other articles which show the potential of some individuals in youth sports organizations to break the trust of those who depend on them.

Chances are if you’re reading a post with the title “The Importance of Building Trust” you aren’t a potential thief and any decisions you make are in the best interests of the kids.  The purpose of this post is to shine some light on how you can effectively show ultimate transparency and set in place some safeguards so future coaches and executives will be accountable and remain in excellent standing with the community.

1. Make all financial decisions, statements, and board meeting minutes public.  One of the most important factors in any democratic system is transparency.  Unfortunately, there isn’t very much regulation or investigative powers to monitor youth sports organizations.  According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the approximately 14,000 youth sports organizations in the United States take in annual revenue of about $9 billion.  Oversight of those sums is haphazard and not centralized, as there is no national agency in the country watching over youth sports.”

What this means is that the leadership of these organizations is the only body responsible for providing financial and executive information to the people who pay money to the club.  Update parents through social media and newsletters on changes and post all board meeting minutes on the website.  Address parent concerns at meetings and create a forum for discussion both in person and online.  If you’re worried about information making it to non-stakeholders, make information available only to members of the club and password protect posted information. Read more