It’s not always about winning and losing, or even sportsmanship, which seems to be the perfect depiction of what sports is suppose to be about.
As kids grow up, competition is reinforced on a daily basis. Right or wrong, athletes are expected to adhere to certain stigmas. The “student” athlete is almost a foreign concept. But every once in a while, kids are taught about more than wins and losses, and it all starts at the pee-wee level.
The Minford Pee-Wee Football league is a prime example of an organization with higher aspirations than simply being labeled as a sports-affiliated program — it’s about building character through community involvement.
Lead by Shawn Kelley, president of the pee-wee football board, the Minford Pee-Wee Football league held a food drive this past fall in an attempt to help the Hopewell House Food Pantry. Over 2,500 items were collected by the players and coaches.
“It’s always nice to see kids give back to the community, it’s nice to see the kids give to people that are in need,” Kelley said. “If everybody gives a little, then we end up with a lot. It’s just a simple outlook. Being in the position that I’m in, if there is something I can orchestrate, then that’s what I’m going to do, it’s what the good lord would want me to do.”
Debbie Huff, administrator of the Hopewell House Food Pantry, was appreciative of the support her organization received.
“In these difficult times, the number of struggling families in our area continues to rise,” Huff said in a letter obtained by The Daily Times. “It is a challenge for the Minford United Methodist Church to meet all of those needs. We are very grateful for a community of people who are so willing to help others. Even our youngest members are willing to spend their free time working to help make the lives of others better.”
The junior Falcons did not stop with the Hopewell House, they also organized an event called “Fear Fest 1,” which raised $1,000 that was donated to Hospice of Southern Ohio.
“Fear Fest 1,” is the first annual haunted maze held at the Minford Pee-Wee Football complex. The event is designed to raise money for a charitable organization, provide entertainment for willing participants and delivery a public safety address.
The safety message, a “don’t text and drive,” and “buckle up,” was delivered at the event by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Kelley, a state trooper, seized the opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause while also taking advantage of the fund raising event by delivering a safety message to members of the community.
”It was nice to achieve our $1,000 goal but next year we are going to try to raise $2,000, we just need to push it a little harder,” Kelley said. ”On the other hand, I have been on so many doorsteps telling people that their relatives are dead, so if I can reach just one person, just one mom, on dad, one daughter, one son, if I can reach one person that might make a good decision, then that whole night was a success regardless of whether we raised any money or not.”
The 2013 goals of the Minford Pee-Wee Football League came to fruition one after another, which has helped different individuals throughout the Scioto community. Kelley was the unquestioned leader of the pack but every successful leader needs a terrific supporting cast.
So, on behalf of Kelley, the Minford Pee-Wee Football League would like to thank Derria Kelley, Matt and Carol Justice, Jamie and Michelle Parker, Jamie Burroughs, Chris and Tammy Lore and Danyelle Wheeler for their contributions.
While the aforementioned individuals donated time and money to help the less fornate, they also provided a life lesson to the kids that participated in the charitable mission.
“I hope they learned to be leaders first of all and to help those that sometimes can’t help themselves,” Kelley said.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or on Twitter @crslone.