Volunteers needed: Craig Parks and Recreation struggling to fill coaching vacancies for summer sports
Summer should offer some normalcy for Craig Parks and Recreation, in terms of hosting seasonal sports for area youth. However, Craig Parks and Recreation is struggling to find volunteer coaches for summer sports such as t-ball, machine pitch baseball, softball and soccer this summer.
Finding coaches is a methodical process that Recreation Manager Travis Sanford has to go through, but filling the volunteer positions is not easy.
“It’s definitely not easy,” Sanford said. “It’s like a puzzle just putting pieces together trying to make them fit.”
Unable to pay for a serious amount of hours put in as volunteer coaches is tough and limits the prospect pool, which makes things difficult for Sanford and the city department.
“It’s definitely not easy. For some reason it always works out but a lot of times, it’s just calling every parent on each roster and seeing if anyone is willing to help out or coach. It is definitely hard all the way up until our coaches meetings and practice starts, we’re still always looking for a coach here and a coach there,” Sanford said. “So, it’s definitely not easy but it does work out which is pretty good.”
As part of his role of organizing the leagues and coaches, Sanford also has to organize the rosters and everything that goes with that, in terms of making the teams even and listening to requests and trying to match them as much as possible.
While it is hard for Sanford to get head coaches, parents are more willing to be assistant coaches for their kids.
“I think a lot of it has to do with schedule. A lot of coaches are obviously working and they have full time jobs. I think if you have an assistant coach it makes things a little bit easier; say you might not make it because you are getting late out of work or something came up and then you at least know somebody can fill in if you’re going to be gone,” Sanford said. “Also at the same time you get the coaching experience as well. I just think being the assistant coach, the leadership role isn’t as big and I think that maybe that’s why people are more willing to because they don’t have to fully commit as much.”
One of the hardest sports that they run to get coaches for is soccer because they take kids all the way up until they are 16 years old, which is the second oldest kids that they sponsor. They also have a fast pitch softball league that takes kids from eight years old to 18 years old.
“Soccer was hard to find coaches because there are so many kids that sign up for soccer. It’s our biggest enrollment, so I had so many teams. I was just calling and calling and calling to see if anybody would be willing,” Sanford said. “I even stepped up and was an assistant coach for a team and I don’t know a lot about soccer. It wasn’t my sport growing up. I just got in there and tried to figure it out as best I could.”
Those wanting to volunteer can contact Sanford at 970-826-2006 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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