Youth basketball thrives on relationships.
Everyone understands the importance of the relationships among teammates, and between players and their coaches. But in the youth game, an unsung hero makes a vital contribution to the team – the parent who steps up to be Team Manager.
Sheila Foronda is a long-time Northern Kings parent and Team Manager. She came into the role out of necessity:
“As a parent, I needed more from the org, I saw there could be more, and I had to offer more.”
The NK program has vastly expanded in the 6 years since she became involved. So has Sheila’s contribution and impact across the organization. Not only does she now manage five teams (yes, FIVE!), but you will also find her streamlining tryout registrations, working the NK merch table – you name it, she does it.
A big part of what drives Sheila is her pride in the Northern Kings programs, which span from teaching young boys and girls the basics of the game, to helping student athletes achieve their dreams to play at the college and university level, many on full scholarships. She attributes the organization’s explosive growth to a shared contagious passion among the Kings family:
“It’s evident in the quick growth that has developed in such a short period of time. Winning was never the focus, but it became the result in many aspects for many teams due to the passion that our coaching and management staff have for their players, the org and the game.”
“Family” is a term adopted by most youth basketball clubs. In some cases, it turns out to be little more than a cliché. In others, it’s exactly what it claims to be – a place where everyone works together, feels connected, and enjoys the journey.
The spirit within the Northern Kings program is well expressed by a familiar African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
“My coaches and I work well together, we have a system and understanding in place. I believe by focusing on the parent’s concerns and questions regarding the organization and other administrative tasks to be completed, it allows the coaches to put more time and focus on the development of the team and the player’s individual skills.”
For parents interested in getting involved on the management side, Sheila stresses the focus must start with your own children and three simple words: “support, encourage, motivate.”
“If you share the same passion and desire [as your children] and you enjoy the game, let that guide you. No amount of time is too little. Coaches and managers appreciate any assistance you are willing to offer.”
It isn’t always in walk in the park, she says. But Sheila is adamant in her belief that the rewards far outweigh the struggles.
“The sense of accomplishment you receive in return in being part of a child’s success is an experience and lifetime fulfillment you can’t get from watching.”