Youth sports teams turn to digital donations for fundraising success

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DENVER -- Paying for youth sports isn't cheap and many clubs and schools are seeing funding shrink. That's why more and more athletes and teams are looking for help online.

GoFundMe.com and other websites are seeing a boom in youth sports fundraising efforts, and even some publicly funded teams are looking for a little extra help.

In late December the Thompson Valley Girls Lacrosse Program decided to start a GoFundMe page in order to help offset big costs and a small budget, which barely covers travel costs and field time.

"All of our girls buy their own uniforms, away jerseys, home jerseys, practice jerseys," said coach Brian Ackman. "All of their gear is purchased by themselves."

The cost of equipment comes on top of the money many spent simply traveling to practice for a team that's made up of athletes from across schools in Northern Colorado.

"I have about a 30-minute drive from the Windsor exit," said team captain Sydney Hahnky. "I take five girls to practice every day."

"I think we draw from 11 different schools, so there`s a lot of us," said Lauren Caddoo, another team captain.

"It`s a challenge," said Misty Huss, the mother of a lacrosse player.

Huss says she spent between $500-800 to outfit her daughter, but this season she decided to coordinate a fundraising effort to help some players whose families can't invest in the same way.

"We want to make it accessible to everybody," Huss said.

The team started a GoFundMe page and set a goal to raise five thousand dollars for equipment, an overnight trip to play teams in Southern Colorado, and an AED in case of emergencies on the practice field. They've raised more than $3,300 before their first game.

"It was exciting," said Zoey Cochran, another team captain. "It was cool to see that we had that much support."

According to GoFundMe.com, the Thompson Valley Lacrosse Program is just the latest example of a fast growing national trend. In 2011 there were fewer than 1,800 youth sports GoFundMe campaigns across the country, which raised about $93,000. In 2014 there were almost 102,000 campaigns, which raised more than $12 Million.

More than 90 percent of the money goes directly to the team, meaning there's more time for everything else.

"We`re worrying about just coaching and making sure the girls are having a good time and learning the game of lacrosse," Ackman said.

"We can focus more on school and our games. It helps," Cochran said.

 

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