Monday, August 10, 2009


We were so thrilled when my son landed a spot on the hockey travel team. It was all new to me and I'm still gradually learning the ropes as a travel hockey mom. I figured a travel team meant a little more traveling, a few more games, but had no clue as to how many more dollars were required as well.

The blow was softened when the coaches explained to parents that we would not have to shoulder all of the extra costs for travel and tournaments. But then, just as I had feared, they said it. They said the dreaded "F" word. Fundraising. Ugh! Not again! At this point in my life (two kids in Catholic schools who've played other organized league sports) I have had my fill of fundraising. I truly think I'm suffering from battered fundraising syndrome. You know the signs and symptoms if you've been there. Your friends point at you and warn others to "look out, hide your money, here comes Willy Wonka and her fundraising factory!" Chocolate bars, cookie dough, water bottles, pies, Christmas wreaths, candles, 50/50 raffles, Ipod raffle tickets, yes, I've hawked it all.

Being the travel team newcomer and because this meant so much to my son, I dared not complain. So I managed a pleasant smile as the team decided to go the bottle and can drive route, as our first effort. Fortunately, we did not have to go dumpster diving (I've done that too!) As we hit our team neighborhoods, all of us parents watched in amazement as our young hockey players tackled this task with great enthusiasm. They worked out strategies and set goals, just as we would soon see them do on the ice.

By the end of our drive, we were all exhausted, smelly and sticky. But, we realized we had gained much more than 7,021 bottles and cans that day. The kids got to spend time getting to know each other outside of their pads, helmets and practices. Parents also found a lot of common ground. That's great when you can develop that kind of bonding early on in a long season that has you spending many hours together on the road and on a frigid bench in an unheated rink.

So, the next time your son or daughter's team asks you to help raise money, think of the other benefits that go along with working together for a common "goal" both on and off the ice. Do you have a unique team fundraising idea? I would love to hear from other hockey moms!

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