5 Ideas for Planning Your Region's Opening Ceremony
With fall soccer right around the corner, many of your Regions will be holding (or have held) an opening ceremony to kick off the new season. Having an opening ceremony is a great way to excite players and volunteers, impress new families and create a sense of community in your Region.
The Commish has gathered ideas from RCs on how their Region celebrates the first day of the season. Use these five ideas as last minute inspiration for this year's festivities or to spark an idea for next year's opening day plans.
1.Include a DJ. Several Regions have invited a local radio station DJ to come out to their opening day to spin a few tunes for the enjoyment of their families and volunteers. It helps make your opening day feel more like a “big event.” If that's not a possibility for your Region, consider hooking a computer up to some speakers and assigning a parent/volunteer to "DJ duty".
2.Invite community leaders. The mayor, city council, school superintendent, fire chief, police chief - invite them all. For any that RSVP “yes,” give them a few minutes to speak to your Region. This is a great way to promote your soccer program, “friendraise” in your community and raise the profile of your Region to your city and local schools. Long term payoff can be everything from easier access to soccer fields to help with registration events. Also, work with the city on publicity. If a city official is attending, that’s often a photo opportunity for the local newspaper.
3.Free snacks, food and drinks. Ask a local restaurant, pizzeria or sponsor to help provide your Region with free pizza, hot dogs, drinks or other snacks for your opening day. Not only will the families and volunteers appreciate the free grub, but it’s also a great advertising opportunity for the business. Consider also inviting local food trucks to park at your venue (if permitted by the city and venue) and having interesting food on sale. You may ask them for a donation to your Region or you may just like to have them add to the festive feeling of your opening day.
4.Parade of teams. Get the players involved by holding a parade of teams during the opening ceremony. Ask each team to bring their team banners to the parade, if they are ready in time, and parade the teams by age group. This is an excellent way to introduce the teams to each other and encourage good sportsmanship. For next year, consider making it a parade through town. Invite the fire department to include a truck in the parade. Or perhaps you have an AYSO dad who has vintage cars. They’re always a popular addition to the parade! You’ll need to plan ahead and make arrangements with your city for appropriate permits. It may take some work, but your players will remember it forever, your parents will be impressed with your organization and you’ll have added to your standing in the community.
5.SoccerFest. You can’t go wrong with SoccerFest! Scramble the teams in each age group and have a day full of fun, soccer and making new friends. Parents are always impressed with how fondly their players remember this unique AYSO event!
What does your Region do for Opening Day? Share your ideas and experiences on our Facebook page!