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Volunteers needed: Youth basketball league faces closing down


Tigard Basketball Association needs adults to take on key roles

The Tigard Basketball Association is looking for a few good men and women.

Or parents. Or aunts and uncles. Anyone really.

The youth basketball league, the city’s only recreational league for boys and girls, could shut down at the end of next season if it doesn’t get a host of new volunteers to help run the organization.

The association has openings for about a dozen volunteer board members for the 2014-15 season, which begins in September.

Since 1981, the organization has offered boys and girls from elementary school through high school a place to learn basketball and have fun. About 670 children and teens play in the recreational league each year.

“There is a core group that has been running things for the last five or six years,” said Clifford Rone, association president. “Only one of them has a child in the program, the rest haven’t have a kid in the program for 10 years.”

Most of the members are ready to move on to other venues, Rone said, but have stuck around out of a sense of duty to the kids.

Kim Morris, the group’s former president, has been involved with the association since 2002, when he signed on as a coach.

His last child graduated from the program in 2006, but he stayed with the program until a few months ago, when he said it was time for him to move on.

“I’m passionate about it,” he said. ‘It’s my baby.”

The association is about teaching kids the game and about the importance of teamwork and physical fitness in a fun setting, Rone said. It’s less intense than competitive leagues in the area, which play upwards of 50 games each year — TBA has a 12-game season from October through March.

Rone said attempts to find new board members has yielded few responses, leaving only two options if people don’t step forward:

The first would be to limit the number of kids in the program. The organization has always had a “come one, come all” policy, Rone said, but could start turning players away. The second option would be to shut down the organization entirely.

Morris said he can’t imagine that happening, but said the possibility exists.

“After 34 years, I won’t let it go away entirely, but we need to get that sense of urgency out to the community,” Morris said.

It takes about 12 or more volunteers to organize the league.

“You need people to help out at evaluations, and a secretary and a treasurer and a registrar and a marketing person,” Morris said. “Otherwise, everyone is wearing multiple hats.”

The association has seen ups and downs with its volunteers in the past. When Morris took over as president in 2007, the organization had only four board members.

“I don’t expect somebody to put in 10-plus years like I did,” Morris said, “but they need to get some new blood in there.”

Volunteers don’t have to be experts in basketball.

“You didn’t have to play college ball to volunteer,” he said. “What we need are committed people interested in kids who want to help kids have a place where they can learn some skills, get exercise and have some fun.”

The city does not have its own recreation district, so outside of TBA, Rone said, kids in Tigard have few options for recreational basketball.

“There is, to my knowledge, no other rec basketball program available,” Rone said. “The schools eliminated their intramural basketball programs years ago due to funding, so unless they take a PE course that has basketball, you aren’t going to be able to play.”

Tigard Competitive Hoops was founded in 2006, but Morris said competitive leagues offer a different style of play than a recreational league.

“The focus is different,” Morris said. “The rec program is about equal pay for equal play. It’s a different beast.”

Competitive leagues are great for students who are devoted to the game, said Rone, but many kids aren’t interested in a competitive program's intense schedule.

“Kids who want to win and get a Division 1 scholarship and play on the high school varsity teams can go to a competitive league and spend the money and get 35 or 50 games a year. But that’s not what everyone wants to do, or can afford,” Rone said.

The group has until July before it must make a final decision one way or another, Rone said.

The group’s next board meeting will be Thursday, June 12, at 6:15 p.m. at Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s Tigard Station 50, 12617 S.W. Walnut St.

For more information about volunteering with Tigard Basketball Association, visit tibba.us or call 503-684-4667.