Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wendy LaCava: Some New Milford Athletic Policies Need To Be Changed

Hello and Good Evening All,

I am sending this email around because I think that a few changes need to be made regarding policies in the school system and I need your help - on more than one count as there a few topics that need attention.  Please give me a moment of time and read below.

Being on the sidelines of so many games of so many sports for many years I have made a few observations and also gotten into a few discussions here and there on things that need changing.  I have four sons aged 16 - 4 who play soccer and lacrosse.  I have been involved in NMYL and SCNM for years and followed so many of our high school athletes from those fields right up through to their high school careers and beyond.  I know sports are not everything but being a part of a team and having a great experience / season - it teaches alot of lessons , builds character and coaches spend more time with our children than any one teacher on any given school day.  I think that paying attention to our athletic program is important.

1.  As you all know the weather is crazy!  And when school is cancelled or dismissed early no school related functions or practices are allowed to be held. Normally this might not be a problem as it might be one day here or there, however, a high school team was not allowed to play all week going into the SWC Championships or the States this past week.  Surrounding area teams were allowed to practice - and did so - all week.  This did not just affect us - the teams in the SWC could not play on Saturday solely because of our schools rules. I know not everyone is a soccer fan or has a soccer student but what if this situation came during football playoffs, wrestling states, band competitions, swimming meets, lacrosse or track....  if it was your team and you saw all other districts around you training and you could not because of school policy - and you were in the running for a title - would you want the policy changed?

I think we need to change policy to allow the teams to practice outside of school if necessary if school is cancelled.This situation was extreme - we were out for a whole week - but it is October - and we had a bad winter last year. I think it is time to represent ourselves as parents of athletes and see if we can change the policy so if another situation like this arises our teams can practice and be ready for competition.

2.  The first line of business should be the above stated policy change but the second topic that I would like to address is advertising at the school - mainly at the fields.  If this policy is reversed and advertising allowed - the money should be earmarked for sports and I believe that should include band - and we need to get turf in the school with that money and take care of our student athletes. Student athletes are dedicated and hardworking.  They spend hours a day training in season.  It would feel so good to change some of these policies to allow for them to thrive at NMHS.  I know that the booster club and a few really dedicated individuals have been working tirelessly to try and make turf happen.  But what if one policy change could help speed that up.  I think this is an issue that will
need representation and I believe it is time to start making the change.  If we make it now.  If we stand up now - then our children can benefit from this in a not too distant future.  The athletic department does not even receive the gate money charged at games - that goes into the general fund.

I am not sure where everyone stands regarding advertising.  I went to Pomperaug recently for a soccer game and they have advertising on their fields and it is so well done.  I have been to many schools across the state and even other states over the past 15 years and seen advertising at many of them. Signs and fields are sponsored by big companies and it is well done.  I am not sure how to start this one - but I feel like there are benefits to allowing advertising and I think it is a topic that should be explored more thoroughly and a policy that needs review at the very least.

So what I am asking is that you come to the board meeting on Tuesday, November 8 - it is at Sarah Noble School at 7:30 pm. Please come - and bring friends and neighbors - let your teams know and get the kids there.  Please come and show our numbers. Any parent whose child plays a sport at NMHS or will in the spring - or will in the future!  Even if your kids are younger - come and help us make these changes now so your children will benefit from them.  If I included you in this email and you are not interested I am sorry.  You can just delete.  I tried to copy in people who might be passionate about making some changes and who might come and stand up with me on Tuesday night. I really need some numbers...

For two years as the Schaghticoke PTO President I got the message - if you don't like something come to the meetings!  COME TO THE BOARD MEETINGS! Come and speak - be heard and stand up.  I heard - don't complain and then do nothing about it - Come to the board meetings!  So when I heard about the team that couldn't practice and when I saw all of the other teams right here in our town practicing, when I started hearing the story unfold .. I wanted to give a voice to that team - and NMHS sports teams in total.  Because I know these kids.  I know the parents.  I know how hard they have worked all season.

I know that a policy change can make a difference - could have made a difference this past week and it can in the future. By going to the meetings and speaking on these two matters - with support of people who believe the same - I think we can make changes. At the very least, we can together make a start at the changes we want to see for our student athletes.

I know that Tuesday will be the beginning - as policies don't typically change overnight - so I would like to get a petition started if you are interested in either of these changes. I will have it with me on Tuesday night so if you want to be represented but can't stay please come by and sign.  And if you are interested in taking a petition and having your team / parents sign it - I have one attached here.  [ed. note: I have not posted the Petition but I will, if asked].

You can have it filled out and mail it to :  Wendy LaCava, 103 Washington Ridge Road, New Milford.

Please forward this to anyone who you feel might be able to take a little time out of their Tuesday night to come to the meeting. Please forward to anyone whom you think might be interested in either of these issues!   Please forward to your team / teammates.  Please help get the word out.  And if you can - please come to the meeting.  You will make a difference.  I am going to address these two topics and attend- so please consider it!!!!!  Thank you so much!

Wendy LaCava

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