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6 Month Member Update: A Look Back and A Look Forward

What a First Year:

I love this old Greek proverb:  “Society grows great when old men (and women)  plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

The Board is taking this time to reflect on the first full year of existence of the Kansas Sports Officials Association (KSOA) and think about the future of the officiating avocation for us all.  KSOA first organized in January 2019 with a purpose to provide sports officials in Kansas a path to excellence in officiating to our members. This included a primary mission of recruitment, training, evaluation and networking.  That has been the focus and the effort expended over the last year.

It has always been the Board’s goal to create an organization that is by members and for members.  The initial effort to complete the stated purpose has been to engage with our community of officials to give of their time in this effort.

As we look back we believe we have been true to the stated purpose and mission.  KSOA has been successful in getting started with the necessary difficult steps of creating an organization from scratch.  There is much work still to do and improvement to be made. The Board understands KSOA is not a mature organization where every process is in place and understood.  We do believe we see growth and “those trees are being planted.”

This newsletter is an attempt to summarize those activities that have been undertaken since KSOA’s inception and this look back helps identify where the organization needs to continue to improve.

All the best,

Jack Messer, President

A Look Back:

The board met monthly Jan – Dec 2019 and discussed how to bring the most benefits to members and how to structure Kansas Sports Officials Association for success. Before July 1, we had 210 members in KSOA and over the next six months we added 383, bringing us to 605 members as of January 29th.

Jan – May 2019: structured the board and board member responsibilities, settled on our name, created our logo, finalized bylaws, obtained our non-profit IRS approval, structured annual dues amounts, setup “how to pay” methods, set up website, set up social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram account, designed Membership Cards, opened bank accounts, and other business steps.

June 2019: Elected our newest board member, Patrick Crider, at our Kick-Off Event with an invite to Limitless Brewing in Lenexa. We gave away over $1,300 in free Gift Cards to area restaurants and sporting goods store plus six sets of Royal’s tickets and Chiefs Memorabilia. We also gave members their “FOUNDING MEMBER” Membership Cards.

If you have not received your card, contact: Marketing & Membership, Lee Whitman (816) 918-3402 or Gordie Wetmore (913) 904-2862

July-Aug-Sep: Launched sport-specific committees for Volleyball, Soccer and Football. Committee members went to work on in-season written observation forms. Feedback from members has been beneficial to use next year, and we have written records of reviews that have been shared with the officials and with assigners who support KSOA. 

Negotiated and gained free admission access to local high school sporting events.  The newly printed Membership Cards were honored for this accessat EKL, Sunflower, KCAL, United Kansas Conference, and Frontier Leagues for our members to enter high school sporting events they officiate to observe other officials work games to help them improve. Members were also invited to meet officials if their pre-game, if time allows, or post-game to talk.

Hosted a pre-season football clinic that combined several meetings and included on-field and classroom instruction.  Admission was free to all. Service was provided to non-members and members alike.

Held a pre-season beach volleyball event, a post-season event for volleyball.  Held a pre-season event for soccer where KSOA provided appetizers for members.

October:  Formed the following committees to help establish our goals and priorities: Membership & Marketing, KSOA Store, Sub-varsity Advisory Council, Varsity Advisory Council, and expanded the Sport-specific committees to include over fifty member-volunteers who joined a committee. We held a social event and invited all volunteers of these committees to attend, KSOA bought appetizers to share. Thank-you again to all members who have stepped up to help on one of these committees!

For information on these specific committees, here are your contact:

Membership & Marketing, Gordie Wetmore

KSOA Store, Kevin Miglianti

Sub-Varsity Advisory Council, Ken Neaderhiser

Varsity Advisory Council, Chuck Floyd 

KSOA Sport-Specific Committee Contacts:

Baseball Committee: Lee Whitman

Basketball Committee: Patrick Crider

Football Committee: Scott Wetterstrom

Soccer Committee: Gordie Wetmore

Softball Committee: Robert Blatcher

Volleyball Committee: P.J. Tuma

Wrestling Committee: Brett Waggoner

In November: KSOA Basketball Committee pre-season kickoff social at Brewbaker’s in Lenexa with appetizers. Bskb committee held several test-review events for members.

The Sub-varsity Advisory Council met to discuss issues to keep the board aware of the majority of members. Sub-varsity officials make up 75-80% of the officials in every sport so we want to be sure to hear their voices. For more specific information on this committee, contact: Ken Neaderhiser

KSOA Store Committee met in October and November to select apparel with our KSOA Logo on them and launched a three-week sales website window with the free help of Olathe T-Shirt and Trophy. Many items were purchased and sold at cost to KSOA members. We want to brand KSOA and have people ask about memberships. New and improved sale in Jan/Feb 2020. For more information on this committee, contact Kevin Miglianti

In December: Basketball season began (thru March 2020). Committee also hosted area supervisor makeup meetings. For more information on the KSOA Basketball Committee contact: Patrick Crider

Junior Membership group met in December for a social to discuss their views on how to attract young officials. Received great feedback so a lot of good ideas going forward, including posting “job awareness” information with the councilors’ offices through the districts. A “New Official Intake Plan” was drafted and is a work in progress. We want to retain officials who join and a written plan will help assure new officials don’t get lost in the process as they begin their officiating career.

A Look Forward:

Our First Annual Meeting of Members will be held in the summer of 2020 TBD. We envision a fun event for members and we also elect new board members, committee members, and talk about our finances. We have identified a few local corporations who might want to support our efforts. Fundraising to pay for this type of event has begun.

In February we will host a 2020 Kickoff with all Committee members and brainstorm plans for our second fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2020. We are a member-driven association and your input will be vital to any success we have, going forward. 

In 2020 we will continue to enhance our social media presence as we blend ideas from the board with ideas that come from this committee kickoff event.

STAY TUNED … and HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. We appreciate your commitment to the improvement of the athletic experience AND, THANK-YOU FOR OFFICIATING the fantastic kids and grandkids in our communities throughout Kansas! 

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