Volunteer fatigue kicking in for South Dundas soccer

While many feet are making for some really great soccer, South Dundas Minor Soccer President, Phillip Blancher is looking for “many hands to make less work.”

According to Blancher, the South Dundas Minor Soccer Association, which has been providing soccer for hundreds of kids for the last 18 years, is in desperate need of new volunteers and board members.

Last year, the association provided soccer for 450 children who were taught the game by 80 coaches.

In the past couple of years, the association has seen a major changeover in the organizing committee.

“A lot of the long-time committee members had been there for 10 plus years, and after that long it kind of takes its toll,” says Blancher. “Their kids were no longer in the program, and they wanted to move on.”

“So over the last couple of years, the organizing committee was involved in a gradual transition, and last year we had a totally new group. It was a bit of a bumpy year for us, but we got through it.”

Heading into the 2014 soccer season, Blancher says the committee’s major concern is “trying to get people to commit to helping out. And because we can’t get help, the few who are helping are beginning to burn out.”

“We have a very good group of volunteer coaches, which is great. What we really need is two key people, one for field maintenance and the other to handle the canteen, in addition to volunteers who will help out with both.”

“We have a really great and very successful association, but it’s all the parts that make it work.”

Minor soccer currently has just four committee volunteers including Blancher, Stephanie Lough secretary/vice-president, Jennifer Byvelds treasurer/registrar and Cindy Peters who represents the separately run Seaway Kickers Soccer Association which offers competitive league play soccer.

Blancher explains that field maintenance involves mowing and lining the fields. The association owns a riding mower used to touch up mowing when needed as regular mowing is provided by the school board on the school fields and the municipality on the south fields.

The association mowing is on a ‘needed basis’ affected by the growing season and rainfall. “It takes about one half hour per field, and we have five fields. But we don’t always have to do all of the fields, and if we had enough adult volunteers, we could divide it up. Three pieces of equipment are available to line the fields, again opening up multi-person (adult or student) possibilities”

The canteen manager stocks the snack bar and schedules workers for the four hours it is open each Saturday morning during the season. This year the season kicks off on Saturday, May 24, and will wrap up with the World Cup tournament on the weekend of July 25-26.

 “All of the money from the canteen goes back into the program, and it is important to players and parents to have it open,” says Blancher. “We do most of our buying locally as we make it a policy to support our local businesses as much as possible. Last year we split the canteen work into one hour shifts, but this was difficult especially during the tournament. We really could have used more people.”

 “We have a good group of student volunteers, and it is great for them as they are able to get community hours. We would welcome anyone who would like to help us out this year and into the future. They can be grandparents, parents, students or a member of the South Dundas community simply interested in helping the program, perhaps a soccer fan.”

 “If we don’t get someone to set up and run the canteen, then we fear it will be closed on Saturdays.”

The South Dundas Soccer Association offers soccer to children beginning at the Little Squirts U7 level (born 2008-09) and running up to Midget at U19.

The biggest numbers of children are in the two younger groups with 100 to 120 kids per group making up about eight full teams each.

Blancher says that if there is anyone who can find a few hours to help the organization, they can let organizers know at the upcoming registrations or by calling him at 613-543-2168 or Stephanie at 613-543-3006. The two positions (field maintenance and canteen are committee members).

Registrations for the 2014 South. Dundas soccer season are set for Saturday, March 1 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Friday, March 21st from 6-9 p.m. Both will be held at the Iroquois Civic Centre. The cost is $40 per child

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