If you're looking for some help with traditional fall chores – ranging from cleaning gutters to hanging Christmas lights and more — the Newton High School boys basketball team is offering its services. For the second year, team members will be helping around the community as part of their fall work day fundraiser on Nov. 18.
Differing from your typical fundraiser, the idea of a work day was something NHS boys coach Andy Hill was exposed to during his time as an assistant at Northwest High School in Wichita. Hill noted it was an initiative he latched onto because of the fact that it was unique in comparison to other fundraising drives.
Personally, Hill said he never enjoyed fundraising sales as a kid and was happy to bring the work day with him to Newton because of the hands-on interaction it allows his players to have with the team's potential supporters.
"A big part of it for me is having the opportunity for them to be out in the community, for our program to be a little more visible in the community and hopefully get people to where they get to know our guys a little bit and then they want to come and watch them play," Hill said. "I think it's good for the kids, too. They've put in a little bit of work into the money we're raising, a little bit of sweat and elbow grease."
Not outright community service, as Hill was quick to point out, the money being raised from the work day does directly benefit the NHS boys basketball team (going towards equipment, uniforms, meals, etc.). Even so, he said he believes this experience helping others is something that will stick with his players.
"Hopefully they find some value in doing some work for other people and kind of working alongside their teammates," Hill said. "There's a little bit of team-building with it as well. They work in groups, doing different things than they normally do together. They usually end up having a pretty good time."
Last year, some of the chores the Railroaders were recruited into helping with included raking leaves and moving furniture, while a few players were also asked to assist with some tasks on a local farm (i.e. cleaning the chicken coop).
Players like Cailen Valdez and Damarius Peterson, who were paired up for last year's work day, warmed to the idea quickly and the inherent benefits attached.
"It felt good to give back to the community after everything they've done for us, all the support," Valdez said.
Though it was a busy day, all the Railroaders bought in and relished the opportunity to bond with teammates as well as being there to reciprocate the support shown to them by the community — with several looking forward to the chance to do so again this year.
"Once the day came, they were tired at the end of the day," Hill said, "but if I remember right, I think they enjoyed it and had some fun."
"It was tiring, but at the same time I think it was pretty good," Peterson said. "It was just a great experience."
Currently, 10 community members have signed up to take advantage of this year's work day, with the team committed to helping out during two different time slots (9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.) on Nov. 18. For more information on the services offered or to recruit players to help with your own chores, contact Hill at 284-6280 (ext. 2603) or 619-4396. He can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.