Whether a parent, a coach, or a mentor, it is tricky to navigate our current reality where we are forced to limit many freedoms enjoyed in our youth in an effort to protect our children from the realities of a seemingly more dangerous world. We expect children and adolescents to grow in maturity as they grow in size, yet we have difficulty finding safe places for them to learn responsibility and earn additional freedoms. Jobs that we may have used to test the waters of the adult world in our younger days such as newspaper routes, walking door to door to shovel neighbors' driveways, or setting up a lemonade stand in the neighborhood are harder to come by in our "global" reality. The opportunities for our children to get a taste of a paying their own way are few and far between. This unfortunate truth has lead to many of our kids not understanding the hard work or sacrifice necessary to save up the money for that new bat, the preciousness of a brand new baseball, the value of their 3 week old batting gloves, or the honor of breaking in a new glove. These items often arrive at their door with no effort of their own at the start of each season, in the middle of a season, or when one gets left behind at a ball field somewhere in between. These precious items for which parents have worked so hard to procure become expected, deserved, and undervalued by many players.
As athletes who participate in activities that come with fees, fundraising opportunities are available to players and families to help defray the cost of tuition or associated expenses (i.e. equipment and tournament travel expenses). While not every family needs tuition assistance, every player benefits from helping to earn the funds necessary to support their commitment to baseball. There is so much for our young players to learn from the fundraising experience such as understanding how to communicate clearly with adults to how to look beyond family and friends for sales to how to ask for permission to sell on private property to how to make change with cash to how hard one has to work to earn the money needed to buy a new pair of cleats. All simple, small, valuable lessons that build responsibility, ownership, and character while awarding perseverance, diligence, and motivation. These are the experiences that translate into real skills that can be applied in the classroom, on the field, and most importantly, in one's adult life. They are the life lessons that so many young adults no longer have the space to learn.
The hard part for many families is that the process is time consuming. It is another activity to which you have to carve out time in order to help a child on the journey of discovery. Many of these kids simply don't know where to start in this process and many parents take on the responsibility of fundraising themselves without involving the kids. Please don't! Include your player in this process and explain that this is part of their commitment to the team and their baseball experience. Guide players on how they can safely earn money towards their activity, but allow them the space to do the work and learn from the experience.
Fundraising is so much more than a way to help lessen the cost of the travel program. It is an opportunity for your child to learn that he/she is capable, that he/she can contribute, that he/she is a participant and not a bystander. We are confident that the experience will teach our players the value of the opportunities that are given to them each and every day in the form of rides to practice, clothing and equipment, trips to tournaments, and everything in between. Our players that contribute personally to their tuition through fundraising or other means approach the sport differently. They approach practice with more focus, they approach their games with more joy, and they handle their equipment with respect, knowing that none of these things are to be taken for granted, as they were earned with hard work and a commitment to the game that they love.
To learn more about the fundraising opportunities at CT Edge, check out our webpage.