Welcome to Beverly Hills AYSO Region 76
A message from Michael Karlin, Regional Commissioner (1997 - 2000):
Region 76, like every other, faces the problem of too few volunteers. It's a vicious cycle, because the relatively few who do volunteer get burned out too quickly. It is also a problem because it enables some of our coaches and referees to resist pressures for them to (a) comply with the spirit of AYSO, (b) do their jobs properly; and (c) get the additional education they need. So what to do?
First, before you start thinking of all the lines to feed potential volunteers, all the carrots and the sticks, all the details of how to get from where you are now to a resemblance of where you would like to be, you need to think more broadly about your program.
When I did this, I concluded that we needed to think more about quality and less about quantity. In other words, it was not acceptable to provide a washed-out experience, with so many teams that some are coached by unprepared and untrained people who had to be dragged in at the last moment, refereed by experienced referees who won't run lines or act as mentors and inexperienced referees officiating games for which they are not yet ready. We need to be willing to face up to the consequences of fewer players and teams until the culture of volunteerism can be restored and imbued into the program.
So, what principles should we apply (strategies and tactics can be left to another time and page)?
First, the region's leadership must be committed to high quality volunteering and a high quality of volunteering experience.
Second, get the word out. There are numerous ways to communicate, both formal and informal. But however you do it, parents and the community have to hear from you all the time about the need to step forward.
Third, insist on a high level of performance from your volunteers and (gently) get rid of those who do not perform. Remember: Being a volunteer is not a license to do a bad job.
Fourth, make sure volunteers and potential volunteers know what is expected of them. Write it down. Make them sign that they have read and understood. People perform better when they know what they're supposed to do.
Fifth, make sure that there are too many rather than too few educational opportunities for volunteers and let them know about them. "I'm sorry, I can't make it" should not just be a lame excuse, it should simply be untrue.
Sixth, make sure volunteers know they are appreciated. Pay volunteers not in kind but in kindness. Thank them early and often.
Seventh, make sure there are ways for people to be involved at different levels of commitment.
Eighth, start by finding the volunteers who can make the first seven items happen!
Our Region is making progress developing strategies and tactics to implement these principles. We have a long way to go. We probably will never quite get there. But it helps me to have articulated these basic ideas to guide us as we go about our daily business.