I often get the question, how can I help? Or sometimes, it’s “let me know how I can help out”. Well, this is me answering those exact things. This is the definitive guide for this.
First, why do we need your help?
Perhaps you are not aware of our needs and why we need your help. Let me breakdown 4 important things to know:
We are a 100% non-profit and no one is paid for their time or effort. This means that the time and effort we put in is a complete sacrifice and gift to the mission and vision of this team and club. When that is shared between the effort and talents of many, we are able to grow, ease the individual burden of all, and improve the experience of all of us. Your help is vital to accomplish our purpose.
What you may not understand is that this team really starts in November, a few weeks after the season ends. It begins with recapping/reviewing the past year, closing out numbers/data, and other logistics items (cleaning the team trailer, etc). It then involves planning for the next year’s goals, budget, projections, and starting to put together specific plans for things like kits, registration, team gear, updating our website, and more. It is a long journey to kickoff the season and until kits and all gear are ordered and done, it’s a ton of work. Your help could make this a lot easier!
We do have big goals both for the NICA team and our parent club. It involves big trail projects, expanding our MTB programs to other age groups (like elementary age kids), adding additional competitive teams and launching and growing other large initiatives and events like the Trail Therapy Day, a Bike Festival, and more. Even just within the team, we want to establish better practices, technology, training, and riding opportunities for everyone so that the experience of every kids is improved. It will take additional resources of time, money, and talent to accomplish this. It is very exciting to think about what we could do here in Eagle Mountain, and I would love everyone to be a part of starting and growing this to be something extraordinary.
All of this is expensive. And while some expenses scale well and last a long time, we are a new and fast growing team and still have a number of important expenses to work on such as radios, a new trailer for next year (assuming we continue to grow some), additional Pitzone experience comforts/necessities, an expanded bike library, more funds set aside for scholarships, additional coach training, and other items. We want to be in a healthy financial position so that we can seed each year with money from the previous year, instead of using private money to do so.
So, that said, here is how you can help:
Volunteer Your Time
This is probably the biggest area where your help is needed and wanted! Here are how you can use your time and talents to help us:
Be a Ride Leader or Coach
Yes, we still need people to ride with us. Some days we have lots of leaders and we can cover everything well, and other days, it’s a struggle - especially at the high school level. We even had to cancel a practice because we didn’t have enough ride leaders/coaches. We would love to continue to grow our pool of people to draw from, who are trained, and who can step in and help. I am committed, as head coach, to continue to believe in, and invest in coach training. We want as many of you as possible to be certified, experienced coaches that can help in a variety of ways. IT DOES NOT mean you have to be a great rider yourself or be the fittest, or fastest. It means showing up, being adaptable, and caring for these kids more than anything. It’s a blast and we’d love to have you all. Steve Ley is our coach training coordinator, and can help with getting started and through what you need to get involved. Reach out to him via Slack, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Take on a specific role for the team.
We need help with specific things this year. Our biggest needs are social media, photography and video, first aid kits, bike maintenance and repair, and helping to manage our team merchandise. We also would love someone to take over food duties for races and practices, and someone to help manage sponsor relationships, trail work coordinator, race day volunteer coordinator, technology help, and always graphic design help.
We would love to have someone be willing to take our team pictures this year instead of having to pay someone, which was nice last year, but we’d love to save the money. We also do really need to up our social media game…(I’m terrible at it).
Volunteer on special days We have special, non-normal days/activities like team rides, time trials, social activities, bike cleaning clinics, and other activities that need your help too - and much of it off the bike. This might include being a timer, a course marshal, a cook, being a “snack/refreshment wagon”, planning activities, or other duties. Be watching for opportunities to be posted for those.
Help drive/transport kids and bikes Any time we travel, there is always a need to help transport kids and bikes. Anytime you can show up with willingness and ability to help with this it is (in my eyes), a miracle and a huge blessing. Traveling to different locations is such an exciting and loved part of what we do and it is impossible to do it without your support. This is one of the coolest, and biggest helps you can provide - especially on our race pre-ride Saturdays in August and September.
Provide practice base coverage During Practice, we often have kids showing up late, kids with mechanical issues, and more. It is always such a help to have Bryant or other parents at our starting location with trucks/vehicles to help pick up stranded riders so the group can keep riding and to help with these kinds of situations. Having a or a few parents at practice base locations to be able to help with a tire change, guide riders to a group, etc is really awesome. If you can hang out, we’d love to have you.
Do trail work with us By doing trail work, we earn money through the league and recognition. We also learn more about our trails, keep them maintained for safety and fun riding, and expand our opportunities to ride. We can always use your help with trail work. We highly encourage you to attend/help whenever you can.
Volunteer with the League Lastly, we want you to take the chance to volunteer with the league during race season. We actually earn money for equipment through the league for signing up to help if we get enough % of our parents volunteering across the season. Some positions even pay. Your help at league races is really appreciated and helps our team out both in reputation and in fundraising.
We are a non-profit and would love your donations or those of your friends and family, etc.
Share that handy link with your friends! We brag about donors on our website (if they let us). You’d be surprised how fast a few dollars donated by many people adds up!
Donate Bikes or Bike Equipment We love bike donations for our bike library. This year we have 6 bikes to loan, 2 small, 2 medium, and one large. 5 of the 6 have used either on an on-going basis, or as needed. We could use more medium and large bikes. We could also use any bike gear that you don’t need - eg brake levers, tools, tires and tubes, wheels, pedals, etc.
Donate other helpful stuff We can always use donations of stuff we need, like fake grass for our pitzone floor, cleaning supplies, building supplies for bike skill features, and more. Check out this page on the club website for more examples: https://www.lakemountainflyers.com/things-we-need.html
Purchase Our Stuff
Did you know we have a team store of our own where you can buy our cool hats, socks, t-shirts, water bottles, and soon, additional merchandise?! Well, we do. It’s located here: https://www.cedarvalleymtb.com/team-store.html This is a great way to support us because you look great in our stuff, it promotes our sponsors and team, and we make money from the sale of items. Also, don’t be shy about buying our highly discounted stuff from 2020, like socks, hats, and t-shirts!
Find Us a Sponsor
Yes, we can and want to still add additional sponsors. We are particularly looking for sponsors or help with the following things:
Our bike repair and maintenance equipment
Our rewards and recognition program (starting in July)
Our end of year banquet/celebration
Food sponsor for recovery at races
Trail sponsors to help with trail building costs/supplies, etc
All of the above opportunities are still awesome helps to our team/club and we will absolutely make it worth their while. We have varying ways we can work with companies to make those work to fit their needs, so get the conversation started, introduce them to us, and ask them to sponsor. We can help with information and closing the deal!
Promote Our Sponsors
Our sponsors are a critical part to our success. We love their support and want to make sure they get their value worth. These are not donations. We provide promotion for their support and we need your help to show them love by being willing to promote them whenever you can in social media, in private, and publicly. It’s easier for some than others due to the nature of their business, but please find a way to speak kindly/positively of them, if they are a parent on the team, thank them. If you can provide a business referral, please do. We want them to know we value their support. Sponsors help us keep our team fees among the lowest in the League and still provide an excellent experience. It also makes them want to continue to support us year after year.
Help with Grants/Other Funding
We are, through the Lake Mountain Bicycle Club (to which our team belongs as a program), working on a number of grant opportunities with Facebook, International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), and others. We could use your help to research, write, and help put together these grants, which will hep fund major trail projects, local kids clinics, and other opportunities for our team.
Also, you might work for a corporation that has corporate giving programs we can take advantage of. For example, Adobe uses the Benevity.com platform to allow their employees to donate their hours spent with our team volunteering, and then directly compensates our team for every hour. It’s a significant amount of money per hour, and is a huge benefit to our team this year. Look to see what programs your company might provide, what donations they might make, etc to causes like ours.
There are many ways you can help. We don’t want to overwhelm you or burn anyone out, and by a bit of help from everyone, we can share the load and accomplish so much more! We love all your contributions and hope you find value and joy in the time you and your kids spend with us. I love you all. Sincerely. It is an honor and pleasure to know all of you, to ride with you, to get to know your kids, and to have joy in their progress. I hope you can see the vision and bright future we have before us and can invest into it with us. It’s super exciting and we want everyone to be a part of it. Stronger Everyday.