BERLIN- The Coastal Lacrosse Club recently secured a $15,000 grant from a local foundation and now has plans to utilize the funding for a number of initiatives both on and off the playing field.
The non-profit Coastal Lacrosse Club, formed two years ago to provide additional opportunities for the growing youth lacrosse movement in the area, recently secured a $15,000 grant from the Humphreys Foundation, a local charitable foundation named for its benefactor, the late Dr. Mary Humphreys of Berlin, which dedicates funds to non-profit organizations making a difference in the community. Coastal Lacrosse has set in motion a plan to utilize the $15,000 grant including a scholarship program for young players who might not otherwise get the opportunity to participate in the sport.
According to Coastal Lacrosse director Gary Richins, the program is setting aside $3,000 for a youth scholarship program to provide club fees and membership fees to underprivileged kids in the area. In response to the continued tough economy, Coastal Lacrosse this year lowered its annual club fee from $110 to $85, but there are still many young athletes in the area that would like to participate in the program but simply can’t afford it. The $3,000 youth scholarship will afford those potential players the opportunity to participate in the youth lacrosse program.
“Lacrosse has a reputation for being an inclusive sport because it generally costs a significant amount of money to participate,” said Richins this week. “By utilizing this grant funding, we hope to open the sport up to a bunch of kids in the area that want to play, but don’t have the resources to participate.”
Along the same lines, Coastal Lacrosse is also dedicating $4,000 of the $15,000 Humphreys Foundation grant to purchase new equipment for the youth scholarship. With $3,000 dedicated for the scholarship fund, the club could pay for as many as 27 new players, but outfitting them with gear is another story. The average cost to outfit a male player with a stick, helmet, shoulder pads, arm pads and gloves comes in at over $200. Girls require less equipment, but there is still a considerable expense for outfitting a female player and a portion of the grant has been set aside to purchase new equipment for both boys and girls.
Coastal Lacrosse is using the largest portion of the grant to purchase cardiac defibrillator equipment for the Northern Worcester County Athletic Complex in Berlin where the club practices and plays its games. Last year, a Beach Lacrosse player suffered a heart attack while practicing, and while the player eventually recovered, the lack of a defibrillator at the athletic complex could have compromised the child’s health.
Richins said the new cardiac defibrillator equipment at the county’s athletic complex in Berlin would be available for all of the programs that use the facility including the Little League, Pop Warner Football, Beach Lacrosse and other sports and leagues. A portion of Coastal Lacrosse’s grant will also be set aside to subsidize a training course for the very organizations that use the country recreational complex so that somebody on hand is trained in its use.
Finally, the last $3,000 of the grant money will be set aside to purchase additional equipment for the club. Richins said when Coastal Lacrosse was formed, the club wanted to keep the entry fees low in order to open the opportunity to more young players in the area. As a result, the club has made minimum purchases in player uniforms, gear and training equipment. The final $3,000 of the grant will allow Coastal Lacrosse to purchase some additional equipment and training gear to enhance the program’s training and participation offerings to its young players.
“When we started Coastal Lacrosse, we began with a shoestring budget and have relied heavily on our fundraising efforts and the kindness and generosity of the community,” said Richins. “With this grant money, we’re able to do some things we might not otherwise be able to do. This is our way of giving back to the community that has been so generous to us. We hope it will make a difference.”
Coastal Lacrosse is now registering players for the upcoming spring 2012 season. For more information about registration, visit www.coastallacrosseclub.com.