9 Tips for Creating Region
Make sure “Everyone Plays” in your Community!
(Note: Samples of actual Region scholarship policies and applications are included beneath the tips.)
In an effort to fulfill the AYSO philosophy of “Everyone Plays, ” many Regions across the country offer scholarships to players that may not be able to afford the player registration fee. If you are interested in implementing a player scholarship opportunity in your Region, here are 9 tips to get you started:
- Let them find you. It is not necessary to widely publicize the availability of player scholarships for them to be successful. Including a link to a scholarship application on your Region’s website, registration form or other common area that parents/players may visit, should adequately inform parents and players during the registration season. Also, by posting this information on your Region website, if you receive any questions from parents, players or coaches you can direct them all to one location.
- Assign the responsibility. Who will be selecting the scholarship recipients? It’s important to make this decision before the application process is started. In the interest of efficiency and confidentiality, the least amount of people that are involved in the selection process the better. The Registrar working with the RC is a popular option other Regions have chosen to implement.
- Be fair. It’s important that your scholarship application and selection process is as fair as possible. Gordon Short, RC for Region 26 in Palo Alto, Calif., makes the point that it’s not only important that your scholarship process is fair, but “that it is perceived as fair as well.” Whether the selection processes is done lottery-style or on a need-to-need basis, create a clear set of policies and procedures that can be followed every year. That way, if someone new steps into the RC or Registrar position, the same guidelines will be followed when selecting recipients and applicants will feel comfortable with the process.
- Keep it confidential. Applying for scholarships can be a sensitive matter, so it’s important to greatly consider applicant confidentiality. Assure parents and players that their information will not be shared with anyone outside the selection process (you may want to note which positions will be involved in the process) and that the information given will only be used for the intended purpose.
- Are they volunteering? Some AYSO Regions that currently offer scholarships have taken the amount of hours the applicant – if a parent or guardian – has volunteered into account when making their selection. Aaron Luce, RC of Region 104 in Albuquerque, N.M., has implemented a 4-hour volunteer requirement for applicants to be considered.
Although Gordon Short doesn’t list volunteering as a requirement, it’s made clear on the Region’s scholarship application that the amount of volunteer hours of each applicant will be taken into consideration when the recipients are selected – and has received a positive response. “We designed the program to encourage these parents that don't have a history of volunteerism to step out and join the fun. I think that better than 90 percent of the applicants end up volunteering.”
- Be specific. It may be a good idea to let parents know exactly what is available in regard to the number of scholarships and the amount of each. If your Region can only offer a limited amount of scholarships per season, include the number and amount on that season’s application. This way, applicants will be aware how valuable they are and the likelihood that they will receive one.
- Make it clear. After creating the policies and procedures for selecting recipients of player scholarships, share them on the Region site along with the actual application. By making these available, applicants will know exactly what the criteria are and what the selectors will be requiring and/or taking into consideration when making their selections. Including the application alone on the site may attract applicants that are not serious, not appropriate for scholarships or not entirely knowledgeable of the process.
- Create a commitment. Consider implementing a small commitment fee for scholarship applicants. This ensures that applicants are serious, and prevents the common problem of players taking the scholarship and not showing up to play.
- Use what’s available. Include questions on the application such as: “Is your son/daughter on a school lunch program?”, “Do you receive any type of public assistance?”, etc. Using criteria from an outside source that can be applied fairly to all applicants sets a clear standard and helps in the decision making process.
Does your Region have scholarship applications for its players? Share your tips in our scholarship discussion on our Facebook page!
Scholarship Policy and Form Sample 1 Scholarship Policy and Form Sample 2 Scholarship Policy and Form Sample 3