Ballistic Lacrosse Fund Raising Campaign
Kids are defined by the choices they are given. In our community, the choices are play football, shoot hoops, or break into houses. We want to add an option--lacrosse. Help us as we use an ancient game to shape the lives of kids in our community.
SIMPLE MAGIC: SPORTS AS A POSITIVE INFLUENCE
Ballistic Sports Group is a Southwest Florida-based not-for-profit youth organization that provides athletic opportunities for boys and girls in the fast-growing sport of lacrosse. We offer learn-to-play events, Spring recreation league, Summer and Fall travel lacrosse, skills classes and private lessons. Our primary service area is in East Lee County, where there are about 100,000 multi-ethnic residents, largely low- to lower-middle income area. Crime is high. The high school dropout rate is high, too. Kids are bored and have nothing to do and not much to look forward to, so they break into houses and deal drugs. Everyone says the kids need wholesome activities--but no one is making those activities available. We want to do better than merely state that a positive influence is needed. We want to build a safe, rewarding program that will keep the kids off the streets by learning a sport that can help earn them a shot at college. It's a small step, we know, but it's in the right direction. We are hopeless optimists. That's because we've seen the faces of these kids come alive when they find the simple magic of throwing a ball with a stick.
COMMITTED TO SERVE
All summer, Ballistic goes to county-operated summer day camps teaching boys and girls how to play lacrosse. We have a lot of interest in the community, from parents and kids of all walks of life. Many of these kids can't get to us, so we take our program to them. And to do that, we have to haul a LOT of gear around. Thirty to sixty sticks. A couple of goals. Pads and helmets for at least thirty players. All to be provided free of charge. However, at present, we are using a boardmember's family car, an old mini-van (with 180,000 miles on it), and an equally old, open, wooden flatbed trailer with which to haul all that gear around unprotected. We can overlook the fact that it LOOKS terrible and doesn't present the positive image we are going for, but we can't get past the reality that this setup just isn't going to last much longer!
ROOTS THAT ARE BROAD AND RUN DEEP
Our roots are broad and run deep in the community. Our board members have lived and worked in this area for two decades and work at one of the big high schools. We run a major lacrosse program in three Lee County locations—Buckingham Park, Veterans Park and Riverdale High School, where we host two week-long summer camps. In 2015, we offered the first and only girls travel lacrosse program in the county, along with three boys teams. This summer, we ran fourteen “Learn 2 Play” events around the eastern part of the county designed to build awareness of the sport and, ultimately, direct players into our recreational league. This Fall, we plan to visit 18 local schools to present the same program to the after-school care groups. These are kids of working parents who want to find something fun and positive to do after school and on weekends. This spring, we we’ve distributed 11,000 flyers to middle and elementary school classrooms in East Lee County to promote our Learn2Play and rec program. We are on the road up to four hours—200 miles!—per day, plus we attend tournaments and other events around the State of Florida.
MEETING THE DEMANDS OF OUR CONSTITUENTS
In order to grow to meet the demands of our constituent families and community, Ballistic Sports Group must expand its capacity to deliver its services. Our venues for play, practices, clinics, games and demonstrations are all over our county (Lee), south into Collier County (Naples), and north into Charlotte and Sarasota Counties. We easily travel 200 miles per day doing lacrosse training. It's a lot for our old vehicle to absorb and it is a logistical nightmare to parcel out bits and pieces of the operation to our volunteers.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
For all of our events, we carry up to 60 lacrosse sticks and sets of equipment (pads, helmets, etc), goals, balls, cones, fitness gear, tents, coolers, medical kits. The organization owns no vehicle of its own and relies on our staff's ancient vehicle or volunteers to carry our gear. We are looking for a trailer and vehicle—a minivan, pickup or SUV—that we can use for our organization. We would also like to get the vehicle and/or trailer wrapped (preferably with major sponsor logos!). We are assuming we’d get a gently used but serviceable vehicle. These items would cost approximately $25,000 in total. We will start with the vehicle and work our way to the trailer and wrap. We hope you will consider helping us provide the best possible lacrosse experience for the youth of SW Florida. Any funds received in excessive of the expense of a vehicle will be used to purchase equipment and/or provide financial aid to players who wish to play but cannot afford to do so.
While we desperately need funding, we can also use your help to spread the word about what we are doing. If you know people in the Lee County, Florida, area or even in Hendry County, let them know that there is a new sporting option available for them. Spread the word on Facebook, or on Twitter follow our feed @BallisticLax. If you have old gear, we will accept that for re-use by our neediest players. If you live in the area and can coach, please step up! We will train YOU, too, and you can get on the ground floor of a wonderful, fulfilling program!
For more information about our organization, please visit our website at www.ballisticsportsgroup.com
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