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Gorham Youth Football Boosters

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29

Jul, 2020

2020 Youth Football Season

It is with a saddened heart that we write to inform you the Gorham Football Boosters Board of Directors has voted to not proceed with a formal playing season involving games and practices for the 2020 season.  Please know that this decision was not made lightly and read this communication in full as we want you to understand entirely the reasons around this difficult decision.  GFB’s have been following several resources that influence what we can and cannot do within community sports such as youth football.  These resources include but are not limited to: Dept of Education, Maine Principals Association, SMYFL, Gorham Community Rec and Maine CDC guidelines for community sports.  


As of Monday night's meeting, SMYFL has decided to proceed with planning for the season, however, there are still a significant amount of unknowns across all organizations.  Despite the decision that was made, the general tone of the meeting was very concerning if we were to move forward with the full season.  Organizational decisions that are yet to be made that will influence SMYFL's overall ability to hold the season are still to be seen.

 

We understand that this is not likely the news that you wanted to hear and can assure you it is not the news we wanted to share.  We deeply apologize for any inconvenience and/or dissatisfaction this brings to our players, parents and extended football families.  Refunds will be issued for anyone who has already registered to play and can be expected to be completed within 7-10 business days.  Please note that we are unable to offer refunds for any card processing fees as these are paid to the platform used by our program for online registration processes. 

 

The board agrees that keeping our kids active and engaged in football this season is still important and therefore we are actively looking into options to offer strength, conditioning and other skills and drills type events in place of the formal football season.  We will send out more information on this topic as we have it. 

 

Key factors in decision to cancel standard playing season:

  • The health and safety of our players, families and community need to remain our top priority. 
  • With the latest direction and decisions that are beginning to be communicated out from resources above, it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to play a regular season in which we will still need to incorporate COVID safety precautions, if even we are to gain the ability to utilize the town field.
  • Registration has been relatively low even with the option to register for $1 in efforts to understand what total registration numbers are likely to be.  Under SMYFL, we are required to have a certain minimum number of players for each team within our program.
  • A hybrid model for a playing season has certainly been considered, however, this would take a lot of re-inventing of the wheel and on top of having to incorporate COVID guidelines and precautions with our current state, this is not feasible.
  • During “normal” times, at an absolute minimum the board needs 10 actively engaged members to run an effective organization.  Over the last few years, we’ve had as little as 4 and as many as 7 with several mid-term position turnovers over the past year’s timeframe.  We have been operating with 5 members since mid-winter and have continued to face many challenges as a result (the board functions year-round to maintain the program). 
  • Due to lack of volunteer’s and individual bandwidth, the board does not have nearly the capacity to effectively hold and manage any sort of season under these current circumstances, most especially impacted by layering in the need to incorporate COVID safety guidelines. 

 

It is important to note that with the board being essentially only half staffed, it is an incredibly large task to put on even a standard season.  The organization is in desperate need of attention with regards to establishing an operational system and structure in which board members can easily and successfully step into and hold a position and then have a positive and beneficial transition to a successor as roles change organically. 

 

The board has decided to take this necessary decision not to play and use it as an opportunity to put much needed time and effort into creating systems and structures that are current, efficient and sustainable for years and board members to come.  Establishing these things are instrumental to the overall success and longevity of youth football in Gorham. You can't have strong and manageable building without a solid foundation.  Our foundation has fallen apart and we need to take step back to get it back together otherwise the organization will not be able to grow and flourish for years to come.  We've made the decision to use this year as an opportunity to take the necessary pause and rebuild our organization.

 

Over the upcoming year, the board will focus on 3 key organizational goals:

  1. Update existing policies, procedures and bylaws to reflect the current environment and needs.
  2. Establish effective, sustainable and transparent operational systems and structures.
    1. This will ensure board transitions are smooth and board members can remain focused on further growing the program as opposed to needing to re-start and figure it out year after year.
  3. Recruit and have a FULL panel of board members by early 2021 to better support upcoming seasons.

 

Again, we'd love to see all our boys and girls back in the game but every good leader knows no business or organization can have long term success if only managing the short term.  If we want the program to thrive vs just exist, pausing and refocusing the limited resources we have is necessary and critical. Know that GFB will still be very busy working through the key focus areas for the 2020 season listed above.  We are all very much looking forward to many updates and improvements to our current program that we intend to implemented for the 2021 season. 

 

If you have any questions, suggestions or interest in joining our team of Gorham Football Boosters Board of Directors, please reach out to us using our group email address @[email protected].  Please also visit our website @ gorhamyouthfootball.com for more information on open board positions and volunteer applications.    

 

Take care and stay safe, we miss you all very much! 

 

Sincerely, 

Gorham Football Boosters

Jen Corkum, President

Ken Fredette, Concessions Director

Jenny Skolfield, Treasurer

Matt Cote, Technology Director

Carolyn Towle, Equipment Director



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