Volunteers add spice to growing Flagstaff youth program
Volunteering is a thankless job most of the time.
For the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association (FYHA), Kristi Smith and Lindsay Mellen give their time for the benefit of the organization, often times helping with fundraisers, helping before and after games and really, doing anything they can to help the program.
“Hockey is absolutely the most exciting sport to watch your kids play,” said Smith, whose two sons, Drew, 8, and Ben, 12, play for FYHA. “After seven years of playing travel hockey with the same kids and families, we have developed so many close and lifelong family friends.”
“Being a bench mom was always fun,” added Mellen, now the equipment manager for the organization. “I helped kids fix gear, tighten skates and get water. I helped put up and take down boards and set up and clear the ice for practices with pads, cones, tires, balls, ringettes and anything else the coaches needed to run practice. I enjoyed being a bench mom because I was able to interact with the kids and coaches.
“Hockey has taught my kids to work hard, to keep practicing and to be OK with who they are. Hockey has helped my boys (Tyler, 4; Cole, 7; and Grant, 9) to learn that they aren’t going to be the very best at everything, but that they can still have fun and learn.”
Smith added that FYHA is a unique organization in a small community with the opportunity to get to know each of the families involved.
“I really like that we focus on allowing anyone to try it by offering scholarships, volunteer opportunities, as well as free first-year equipment rentals,” said Smith. “FYHA is a great organization to volunteer for.”
Echoing those sentiments, Mellen said FYHA’s attention to detail is very attractive.
“The club coaches that have worked with my boys are great mentors,” she said. “They are positive and encouraging. The coaches make the sport fun, but still expect attention, dedication and sportsmanship from the players. It is the structured on-ice experience that my boys have every time they have practice or games that keeps us coming back each session.”
— Matt Mackinder