8 years ago, our children began participating in a summer track program in our hometown. It is a successful program that saw children accomplish great goals, and gave them success at the regional and state level, with several able to advance to the national level. The long time coaches stepped down several years ago, and my wife and i took over the program. The program had been run in conjunction with the local Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) and used the local schools facilities over the summer to practice and train participants.
The organization, commonly known as the Summer Track Program, operated under PARDs umbrella in terms of insurance and organizational representation. This last year we were informed that PARD would no longer be partnering with the Summer Track Program. We asked for another summer, which they agreed to, but it was this last summer when Covid-19 prevented any activities from occurring. Therefore, the Summer Track Program was not only forced to deal with the reality of loosing PARD affiliation, we were not able to have an event season to offer the children activities or perform fund raising activities.
So, where we are now...the Summer Track Program has always been run by volunteers. My wife and I have committed to continue the program, along with other volunteer coaches. Our problem is funding. We have already invested a lot of time and some of our own personal finances to continue the vision and reality of the program. We have incorporated the program, so we are an actual organization or entity. But we currently do not have the money to apply for nonprofit status.
We have looked into grant funding for the organization, but grants generally are not available unless the organization is a non profit. So we are kind of trapped in this whirlpool of needing money with no real way to get it. The local community is supportive of the program, but with no program this last summer and no outreach through the program, we were not able to solicit the donations that normally carried us through the year. we are a small town, and Covid-19 has put a damper on a lot of donations and community involvement. We are, however, going to do a letter writing campaign before the end of the year to try and raise any local funds we can.
We are facing a time crunch, but we keep moving forward. We have continued reaching out to get realistic estimates and expectations on insurance, facilities usage, equipment purchases, and other additional costs we are now forced to cover ourselves. The campaign is for $15,000, which we feel will get us through the first summer on our own and allow us the finances to establish our non-profit status and become self sufficient in the future.
There are still many unknowns as we strike out on our own. Our program involves anywhere from 20-45 children each summer. While this doesn't seem like a lot, for our town, the program is successful. It exposes these children to structured athletics, it keeps them active and outdoors for a couple hours every day, and it helps to develop talents and abilities these children may not realize on their own. We see success stories in our kids every year!
The organization that we chartered is called the Whitesboro Area Youth Summer Sports (WAYSS), and it is based out of Whitesboro, Texas. We participate in the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (TAAF) competitions which are held on weekends for 8-10 weeks over the summer and culminates in a state-wide competition in late July or early August. National competition for those that qualify are help every 2 years.
We are hoping to find some donors who share the same goals as us...to get kids out of the house and outdoors, keep them active, teach them valuable emotional and physical skills, and work toward making them successful. We need your help to pull it off!