I want to personally thank everyone for their efforts in this year’s Soccer-a-Thon. While we are still getting donations, it looks like we will once again raise over $75,000 through your hard work and commitment.
It has been said that the true measure of a person is found by watching what they do for others, and I feel lucky to be associated with so many tremendous people here at Orlando City Seminole.
You matter. You make a difference. Your great generosity has had a profound and lasting impact on our families in our club and community. Your willingness to share both your time and your talent by volunteering with Orlando City Soccer school Seminole says a lot about each of you as human beings. Your willingness to give selflessly to help others speaks to both your strength and the quality of your character. Believe it or not, at some organizations there are some people who only help a cause when it helps them, or they see personal benefit. The number of people who have recently come forward to secure donations, volunteer their time, or just offer to help has been enlightening.
When you volunteer, you are making a commitment to share that most precious of resources – your time – to make life better for those who are in need or for the good of the group; never knowing if you’ll see any personal benefit. The fruits of your labors make a tangible impact, of course, but perhaps it is the fact that you are willing to share your time and talent to lend a helping hand and to show kindness and caring that makes the greatest difference in the lives of the individuals who are touched by your generosity.
While I know that you choose to volunteer selflessly and without expectation of being recognized or rewarded, today I wish to do just that. I want to let you know just how much your dedication is appreciated and to make sure that everyone at Orlando City Soccer School Seminole is forever grateful to each of you. Whether you are a long-time volunteer or if you got involved recently, or just helped raise money, and regardless of how many hours you choose to give, it’s important for you to know that what you do makes a difference.
Words cannot adequately express the gratitude that I, and the board and staff of Orlando City Soccer School Seminole, wish to convey. Please know that your volunteerism is recognized, appreciated, valued, and cherished. We thank you and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future. Thanks to all of you who helped, donated, and brought your kids to the event. Special thanks to all the preparation that went into the event by Meg Bonos and her organizers, Tanya Neidert, Debbie Neal, Theresa Allen, Katherine Wu, Kim Unger and Andrea Peters as well as the rest of our marketing committee who helped get the word out, Eric McGee, Jeff Pugh, and Chris McKendry.
Of course, the important part is the funds go toward lighting the fields, which is a key part of the first phase of our improvements at Seminole Soccer Complex. To date we have raised over $145,000 in one and a half short years since I came, and we truly launched our first fundraising efforts. We have set this money aside in a separate account while we strive to get to the point where we can contract the work. That goal is very much in sight. Our goal is to have two more fields lit by winter of 2023 at a cost of around $500,000. We are not finished with our efforts, but the first step of adding two more lit fields is close, and I am hoping each of you will continue to help us find donors and potential sponsors so we can limit our need to use auxiliary fields during the winter months.
The power of giving is in the difference it makes, not what you receive in return or weather you would have a better way. So many of you have given selflessly
We are constantly looking for ways to improve in areas of communication, programming, and player and coach development. As a club, we are also seeking opportunities to improve our facilities both at Seminole and the other facilities that we use. All this work helps us move the club toward our stated goal of becoming the premier community youth soccer club in Central Florida and beyond. While we have made a lot of progress in the past year, there is still much to be done.
To accomplish all that we hope to achieve, our staff and leadership team relies heavily on a small but dedicated team of volunteer parents and community members. Over the past year, we have formed working committees of volunteers to take on large and important tasks and projects. Their work is largely unseen and the tasks often thankless. These volunteers have taken time away from their families and children to build a better club for all of us, and it is important to me that I take the time to recognize their hard work and contributions.
One of the committees we formed has focused on improving communication both within the club and the larger community. This Marketing Committee is largely responsible for an increased presence in social media, advertising, and parent communications – including the development and distribution of this newsletter. A special thanks to Katherine Wu, Andrea Peters, Jeff Pugh and Eric McGee for all their efforts on our social media, newsletter and website. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without their support.
We have also introduced and run several events this past year, none of which could have been accomplished without the hard work of our volunteers. Our facilities allow us to host numerous tournaments throughout the year, including our club-run events and hosted national tournaments. Volunteers play a large role in making these tournaments a success. Off the field, we have introduced new events that are vital to the financial health and the culture of our club, including Soccer-A-Thon, Senior Night, and our club Golf Tournament. Volunteers were the backbone of these endeavors, and I would like to particularly thank Meg Bonos for her work on the Soccer-A-Thon and Senior Night events, and Andrea Peters for leading the way organizing the Golf Tournament.
Looking back, these volunteer-driven efforts have been a huge success and we are a better club today because of the work done. But, there is still much to do. As we go into the spring season, we are looking to emulate our success in other areas - creating similar committees to help shape our club in key areas. Put simply, we need your help. I have outlined our goals for the coming year and hope you will consider how you can help make our club a better community for all involved.
The first committee is a Parent Advisory Board. This important board will provide input to the club leadership team from the parents’ perspective, with a goal of improving our member experience. We are looking for a member from each program on both the boys’ and girls’ side. The Parent Advisory Board will work with myself and a board member to identify and solve opportunities for improving the overall club and membership experience. Because of the nature of the work being done by the Parent Advisory Board, we will limit the board to 9 members (one from each program level) and are asking each member to commit to serving on the board for two years.
Our second committee will focus on facilities improvement. We are getting closer to our phase one execution of getting two lighted fields at Seminole. To expedite the process, which will allow us to hold more weeknight practices as our home facilities, we are looking for people knowledgeable in construction, land development, fundraising and financing to help drive the project to completion.
Finally, we will be asking each team to designate a communication liaison to assist our marketing/social media team with your team’s information, accomplishments and pictures from games and events. We already ask much of our volunteer team managers and are hopeful that we can find more volunteers to assist with the communication.
Everyone wants to create the best environment for their children. While our focus is often on our individual teams and unique situations, it is important to remember that the success of the entire club helps create a culture and environment that leads to better experiences at every level and on every team. We need a special group of people who are willing get involved in creating sustainable solutions that will benefit not only your son or daughter and their team but the club and the community as a whole. While this work is important, the level of commitment varies and is entirely dependent on your abilities and availability.
Of course there will be many more initiatives to allow you to take a role in building the club you want us to be. We are building something great here and I hope you’ll consider lending your considerable talents, experience and time to ensuring our success. Together, we will build a club we envision.
If you would like to volunteer to assist with any of the of the mentioned committees, or have talents and time that could benefit the club in another way, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.