Local government parks and recreation departments have a unique opportunity to help foster the health and wellbeing of the children in their communities. One of the greatest wellness opportunities for young people is to participate in community youth leagues. Not only does team participation teach children leadership and perseverance skills, it helps them to get active and build friendships with their classmates and neighbors. If your parks and rec department is ready to begin offering youth sport leagues, or you’re looking for ways to stay better organized and expand your existing programs, review our checklist of key steps to effectively manage your local government youth leagues.
- Start planning a season ahead. The process to plan, promote, recruit, and execute a community youth league takes considerable time and planning. Especially if your community offers multiple sports leagues per season, you’ll want to give yourself enough time to complete all the items on this list. As soon as your current season’s sports leagues tee off, start planning for the following season.
- Plan your dates. When choosing the start and end dates of each season’s youth league, make sure there is no overlap with the previous season’s leagues. It’s likely that you’ll have kids who want to participate in both fall baseball, and winter basketball for example. Make sure when confirming that your leagues don’t overlap that you’ve taken into considering timing for playoffs if applicable.
- Hire quality instructors before opening registration. You can’t host a youth league without a coach. Don’t take for granted that last season’s leaders will be available to return this year. At the same time, don’t make the mistake of starting to recruit for sign-ups before you have your coaches contracted and confirmed. If you do, you could end up scrambling to find instructors, who may not be your first choice, or at worst, having to cancel a league.
- Secure your facilities. One of the benefits of local government youth league management is that you have your own community facilities. Don’t forget, however, that you too have to reserve your parks, pools, and rinks. Otherwise, you may find out when it’s too late that another organization has made a reservation that conflicts with your own youth league.
- Promote your league with a multi-channel strategy. A successful promotional strategy will be a key to filling up registrations and maximizing revenue.
- Don’t forget to promote on social media. Whether your parks and recreation department is new to social media, or if you’ve been effectively using it as a promotional tool, social media platforms are constantly evolving, giving you new ways to leverage them as part of your youth league management strategy.
- Allow parents to pay league fees and sign waivers online at the time of registration. Managing multiple youth leagues every season means managing hundreds of participant records. Make it easy to manage registrations and payments by choosing a recreation management software that allows parents to complete key transactions online at the time of sign-up. The most valuable software will allow for payment of league fees online via a secure transaction system, as well as the electronic signing of waiver forms.
If your current recreation management software does not allow for such robust capabilities, and if you’re thinking about switching to a solution that will make it easier and faster for you to complete this checklist, click below to learn what to look for when switching parks and rec software.