Everyone Wins When You Commit to Community Service

January 15th, 2018 | by Jonathan Yates
Everyone Wins When You Commit to Community Service
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Community Service

A rewarding community service program serves many valuable functions for an athletic department and its director.

Community service is now a major component of most athletic departments across America.  Some programs even go beyond the borders of the United States.  Colorado State University has the Green and Global service and learning experience in Jamaica, as just one example.

Sports is intrinsically a zero-sum game, we win: you lose, so why are more and more athletic departments expending finite resources on community service efforts around the world when back home budget resources are constrained?

More than 20 interviews with leading athletic directors delivered a very simple, noble proposition: the better their program is at community service, the better the person is their student-athlete, both on and off the field, in school and long after graduation.

From that, everyone wins with the athletic department reaping many benefits.  Community service has become more important to more college students, including athletes.  There is even a thriving industry in pairing students with community service work over their spring breaks during college!  For many colleges, community service programs can help to recruit a better player.

Community service programs at every school assist in creating a better person, especially student-athletes!

If good enough to be awarded a scholarship, student-athletes have most likely been treated very well in their journey to play sports in college.  Many times this can lead to attitudes and actions that are negative for the student-athlete, both short-term and long-term.  Tragically, many do not realize it, either, until it is way, way too late for the player and the program.

Helping those less fortunate is the foundation of every successful person, religion, school of thought, and form of government that has ever prevailed over the long term..

Character counts: just look at what has happened to the reputation (and earning power) of many formerly beloved celebrities such as Bill Cosby and Tiger Woods.  No matter what your definition of character, community service is a major component.  Character is also the keystone of teamwork, without which no athletic program could possibly hope to endure.  Gil Brandt, the personnel genius behind the Dallas Cowboys, warned that bad character will cripple the crucial chemistry of a team when things inevitably go bad, right when it will do the most damage.

Community service also helps to fill the stands and create generous, long-term donors.

Every athletic department and director needs good public relations.  Too often this is undervalued and underestimated.  The greatest leaders in history have always nurtured their relationship with the public, and with the press.  While this can be done many ways, meaningful community service is one of the best as it is a sincere effort to help others that is earns the highest respect and support, in every definition of the world.  Those who witness community service naturally want to support the athletic program as there is a desire within everyone to be a part of something bigger.

Community service is the opposite of sports in that everyone wins!

For that reason, a commitment to community service should be a part of every job and also the hiring process in an athletic department.  For doubters, look how successful the military academies, which require the ultimate in service to others, are in creating successful student-athletes, graduates who are widely admired leaders, and generous alumni supporters. If a player, administrator or coach does not see the value in community service, that is one who could greatly damage the long-term success of teams, programs, departments, and careers of all involved.

Jonathan Yates About Jonathan Yates
Jonathan Yates spent much of his career working for Members of Congress in a variety of press and legislative posts. Positions he has held working for Members of Congress and state legislators include Chief of Staff, General Counsel, Legislative Director, Press Secretary, and Legislative Assistant. His journalistic work has appeared in such periodicals as The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Investor's Business Daily, and TheStreet, among others. He has degrees from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown University Law Center; and has also matriculated at the U.S. Naval War College and The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Jonathan also hosts The Culture of Sports You can follow Jonathan Yates on Twitter at @politicsports13

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