Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Travel Players Exercise Their Fundraising Skills

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Travel Players Exercise Their Fundraising Skills

Article excerpt

There was a time when a Little League baseball team could spend a couple afternoons washing cars and they'd raise enough money for new jerseys. Heck, with a donation from the local bagel shop, they could even have some new equipment, too.

That was before travel teams began spending tens of thousands of dollars playing tournaments across the country, before soccer teams began hiring trainers rather than having mom and dad coach. Before the cost of joining a local youth hockey team hit $3,000.

Today, a car wash just isn't going to be enough. As Kerry McCullough, a lacrosse coach and Mahwah resident, put it, "My team is never going to sell enough candy bars to raise the $12,000 we need to play in California this summer."

In North Jersey, youth travel teams are finding that success depends as much on their fundraising skills as their athletic talent.

For instance, to help pay for a weeklong baseball tournament in Cooperstown, N.Y., a team from North Jersey held a 50-50 raffle. They stationed players outside every supermarket in Wayne on Saturdays and Sundays for a month. They raised $9,000. Super Bowl and Final Four pools brought in an additional $3,000.

"It beat selling Cokes and candy at games," said Tony Davies, one of the coaches.

The Girl Scouts have their cookies, and the Expos, a club volleyball team with players from Bergen and Passaic County, have their babysitting service. Thanks to the fliers the team posted in many towns, the girls are popular sitters and, when they pool their funds from various jobs, can raise $500 on a busy Saturday night.

"We took in $900 on New Year's Eve, but the girls weren't happy because they couldn't go out and have fun themselves," said Lindsay Alexandra, a Ramsey resident who is one of the team's coaches.

A local travel soccer team was invited to play at Disney World two years ago, but the girls quickly realized many of their parents wouldn't be able to afford the trip. …

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