Organization: Forest Lake High School Fishing Team, Football and Booster Club, and Forest Lake Athletic Association

Volunteer Service: Since 2011



How did you get involved with these organizations?
Family inspired my involvement with these organizations. Growing up, my dad was a professional fisherman and I carried that interest into my adult life. When my boys were in high school they joined the bass club and football teams. I got involved with their organizations to support their interests and spend more time together.

In which ways have you volunteered with them?
I’ve coached all three of my sons’ football teams until they got to high school. Then I joined the football and booster club boards to help make decisions for the programs they were involved in, and started coaching the newly formed bass club when that was established three years ago. Now that my board term has ended, I am a member at large continuing to offer valuable input and allowing more time to watch my kids play on game day.

What is the most rewarding part of volunteering with youth?
It is highly rewarding to spend time with my kids, and coaching gives me the opportunity to support the community on a regular basis and impact other youth. During my service, I’ve had the opportunity to watch many kids grow in the sport and personally, and it’s a wonderful experience to see kids find their place.

Can you share a memorable experience from your community involvement?
The night this photo below was taken is probably one of the most memorable nights I’ve had on the field. I don’t remember the outcome of the game, but we had an amazing night on the field raising money for Tackle Cancer and such camaraderie between teams that it really showed what coaching was all about.

That night, each player wore a colored shirt synonymous with a cancer awareness they chose because everyone has a cancer story of their own. My sons chose lime green because their best friend had just beat Lymphoma—and I’m happy to report they are still cancer free today.

Another boy on the team had a sister battling cancer whom we invited to participate in the last play of the night. It was such a wonderful experience seeing the teams work in unison to help the little girl make a touchdown, and everyone rally around the cause. There wasn’t a dry eye on the field.

How has volunteering had an influence on you?
It has taught me patience, lots of it! The kids are usually great, but we can run into challenges. When those arise, we spend time hearing both sides of the story and working the issue at hand. Coaching also means juggling schedules and managing people to volunteer or fundraise for the team. It takes a lot of time and patience for it all to come together, and we appreciate any helping hands.

What things have you learned about your community through your involvement?
You don’t have to be an expert to get involved. Generally, it’s most helpful to have someone who just wants to give their time and lend a helping hand. The rest can be taught, and diverse perspectives are important to success. The influence of a volunteer lending their time to coach and sharing input can change a team’s entire culture and improve dynamics.

What advice would you give other colleagues looking to start volunteering?
I would encourage colleagues to get involved and consider youth sports if you’re unsure of an activity. You don’t have to have experience or you determine the level of time commitment. You can be an assistant coach, field volunteer, help at concessions and more. There’s also a great need to serve on a board or committee—professionals in the financial service industry are great candidates. Community organizations rely on volunteers to operate and remain around for many generations to come.