NorCal Chapter Grant Aids Launch of New High School Teams
Redwood City, CA - The first-year boys’ and girls’ teams at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California may not have scored a ton of goals this year, but credit at least one assist to the Northern California (NorCal) Chapter of US Lacrosse.
Despite strong lacrosse interest at the school, limited funds and a tight state budget presented a firm road block to fielding teams in 2012. That’s where the NorCal chapter stepped in. The chapter approved a grant to the school that supplemented the fundraising efforts of a core group of parents, helping the teams cover the operating costs for the 2012 season, including needed equipment for both teams.
||A grant from the NorCal Chapter of US Lacrosse assisted in launching the boys' and girls' teams at Sequoia High School in 2012.
"We know that equipment can be expensive, especially for beginners," said Jackson Hee, president of the NorCal Chapter. "It’s very rewarding for us to be able to help."
Like many of US Lacrosse’s 64 chapters, NorCal publicizes its grant offerings through its website and offers a number of different options for potential applicants. In addition to the type of program grant that NorCal provided to Sequoia High School, the chapter also administers an equipment loaner program, a scholarship program to assist coaches, officials and administrators in attending educational events, and a summer camp program offering scholarships for individual kids to attend lacrosse camp.
Spurred in part by the East Coast transplants that have moved to Northern California in recent years, lacrosse is seeing rapid growth in the Bay Area and beyond. Hee estimates that the sport in growing approximately 10 percent each year in the number of participants in the region.
"The sport has been played in the private schools here for over 20 years," said Hee. "But in the past 10 years, more and more public schools, like Sequoia, are adding teams as well."
Sequoia High School features a culturally diverse student population, with 70% of the students identifying themselves as Latino or Pacific Islander. Principal Bonnie Hansen viewed the addition of lacrosse as an additional tool to help unify the diverse school community.
"There are simply not enough spots on sports teams for all interested students," she wrote in her letter of support to the NorCal chapter. "The addition of lacrosse will provide the opportunity for more students to be a part of a school team."
Sequoia’s teams didn’t enjoy a lot of success on the field this year – with the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams finishing with a combined 3-17 record – but they certainly didn’t lack for enthusiasm. The teams had over 70 players try out, which is even more impressive when considering that the majority of the students had never played the game before and that due to limited field space, the teams practiced at 6:30 a.m.
Kurt Campbell, a volunteer assistant coach with the girls’ team who also coordinated the chapter grant application, says the lack of wins never dimmed the spirit of the players.
"The experience that the kids enjoyed was just tremendous," said Campbell.
Following the completion of the 2012 season, the teams sent a heartfelt thank you to the chapter, which included a note signed by all the members of both teams. The note concluded by saying, "thanks again for helping provide the opportunity for us to play and fall in love with such an amazing sport."
While some of the funding that chapters provide for regional development is generated locally, another portion is generated by US Lacrosse’s national headquarters in Baltimore. US Lacrosse annually provides grants to its chapters in order to assist with the funding of programs and services to support the growth of the sport in local areas.
US Lacrosse awarded a total of $50,000 in grants in 2011 to support local lacrosse development, and will likely match or exceed that figure in 2012. The chapters utilize the grants on a range of activities, including the type of support NorCal provided for Sequoia High School.
"We’re grateful to the thousands of members and donors of US Lacrosse for providing the resources to award these grants," said Lindsay Comodore, manager of chapter relations at US Lacrosse. "Our chapters represent the home of lacrosse at the local level, and it is through their work that the local or regional lacrosse experience continues to improve."
- Paul Ohanian
♦ Chapter Grant Program
♦ NorCal Chapter Website
♦ USL's First Stick Program