Banquet Ideas for Your Youth Football Teams
Team banquets or award ceremonies can be a great way to wrap up seasons. There are many ways to do this, here is what worked well for us this season: Two weeks after the season ended we rented the YMCA out for an all-nighter on a Friday night. You get the YMCA from 7:00 pm until 6:30 the following morning. Our closest YMCA is just a year old and has an indoor pool, several gyms, game room including Wii, rock climbing wall and more. For $850 the YMCA provides life guards from 8:00-10:00 and rock climbing guides and a monitor for the night. We paid for this out of our concession money and banquet fund.
The parents and siblings were required to leave at 11:00. Several moms and a dad ended up chaperoning, they had hotdogs, snacks and drinks available for the kids all night and donuts and juice for the morning. The younger kids finally hit the sack and slipped into their sleeping bags at about 3:00 a.m. while the 7th-8th graders stayed up through the night. I’m still not sure how anyone can play dodge ball for 7 hours straight without your arm falling off.
The following Sunday we did our banquet at the local Community Center. We had cake and drinks and had all 3 teams along with parents and siblings in attendance. Each player got a 12” trophy and an awards certificate with their team picture on it. All 3 of our teams finished as runners up in their respective divisions, but combined at 24-4, we had the best record in our league. So each player’s trophy had his name, team record and “Presidents Cup Champion” engraved on it. For certificates, each player was designated as: Most Valuable Defensive Player, Most Improved Player, Most Valuable Offensive Linemen, etc. A number of players were designated one of our Weekly Character Theme winners: Perseverance, Compassion, Teamwork and Selflessness etc. All players aging out of the program were given a team ring and a Fat Head picture of themselves or the team. Our academic award winners typically get a Fat Head of themselves as well. Each player also received a season DVD that had highlights from the season, pictures and of course full game video of each game they played. The video is set to music and the DVD case has the team picture and record on it.
Every player is announced and comes up on stage to get their awards. As they trot up to the stage we always try and talk a little about what that player accomplished during the season and how they improved. While banquets may seem like a pain, it is a great way to review the season with the kids and parents as well as set expectations for the next season. I promise you this, 20 years from now most of my kids will still have those trophies in some box in the attic, but more importantly they are going to remember the season and maybe even playing dodge ball all night at the YMCA. Isn’t that what we are in this for, to build great memories and help create a love and appreciation of the game in our youth football players?