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Game On!

Volunteer opportunities for sports lovers

As people are ready to get back to their favorite fields, courts, pitches, and courses, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for people who love games of all kinds. If you’re a sports fan, consider giving back to your favorite game. Here are some ideas.

Start local
From coaches and managers to board members and organizers, local youth leagues need volunteers of all kinds. Whether you love soccer, football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, or other games, chances are there’s a youth sports league near you that could use your passion and knowledge of the game to give kids a chance to get out and play. Contact your local recreation office to find out what sports teams play in your area and the type of volunteer help they need. And if they don’t have a program for the sport you love, you could always volunteer to start one yourself.

Go high-profile
College and professional athletic facilities may need volunteers, especially during games or events. Volunteers are often used to usher people to their seats and help with general event staffing needs. Reach out to your favorite arena and find out if they use volunteers and what the requirements are. You may need to go through a brief training and have valid identification. And, while you’re there, make sure that the concessions team knows about Operation SportsWrap, which encourages sports venues to donate unsold concessions to help feed food insecure people.

Be a coach
From local youth teams to universities who need to beef up their coaching staffs, there are many opportunities to lead a team as a volunteer coach. Higher-level positions may require some previous experience as a coach, and you may need to pass a background check if you’re working with children.

Host a game-day drive
Using appropriate safety precautions, organize a food or clothing drive during one of your favorite team’s games. You may host an at-home event where you ask friends to bring donations for a local food bank or gently used clothing. Or have people bring pot-luck dishes—with extra portions packaged for a local homeless shelter. (Call in advance to find out their requirements for accepting homemade food donations.)

Help staff one-day events
Nonprofits organize fun runs, golf tournaments, cycling events, walks, and others to raise funds and build relationships in the community. Volunteer to staff the event or get together a team and participate. It’s a great way to make social connections, too.

Volunteer for Special Olympics
Perhaps no sporting event is more beloved than the Special Olympics, which hosts more than 100,000 sporting events each year for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics seeks many types of volunteers in every state. So, whether you’re interested in being a coach, trainer, event organizer, or unified partner who plays alongside the athletes and helping them compete, there’s an opportunity to get involved.

No matter what game you love, there are opportunities to give back by sharing that passion with your community or other people who care about the sport as much as you do.  Find a volunteer opportunity near you.

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Competitive streaks

Challenge your neighbors by creating a fun game for collecting food, clothing or books. Nearby homeowner’s associations could compete for bragging rights or a Community Champion trophy.