So you're the team parent assigned to planning the year end festivities. Great! Now, where do you start? We offer some basic tips to get your planning off on the right foot.
Booking your Venue
The time frame for this can vary significantly, but if you’re flexible on the day of week (Sundays through Thursdays are typically better) and meal time (brunch is a great option), you have more choices.
If you need a large ballroom, for instance, you may have to have at least a month’s lead-time and yet still may need to be open as far as date options. Whereas often a smaller room, during the week, may be available with about a week’s notice.
For many venues, there is often one exception. You’d need to start looking even earlier if you’re hoping for a Friday or Saturday evening, especially in the spring, summer or fall. In Minnesota, some venues have all of their June Saturdays booked as early as January.
Many venues offer on-site catering – which is great for you. You can work with the on-site event coordinator to customize your food and drink options – perhaps even offer team favorites.
Here variety is probably limited only by your imagination.
- Team colors for napkins or balloons? Definitely.
- Displays of sport-appropriate equipment? Yes!
- Exhibits of team uniforms? Why Not?
- Team trophies from the season? Absolutely.
- Then and now photos of athletes. Of course!
Planning for the Actual Awards
First you need to decide on what awards you are giving.
- There are some fairly standard awards – MVP, all-stars or honoring captains (or naming next year’s captains)
- Sport-specific award possibilities include: Best Defensive Player, Best Offensive Player, Most Assists, Most Blocks, Most Hits, RBI Leader, Most Digs, Best Serve, etc.
- Then there’s always the option of offering fun honorary awards – Most Improved, Greatest Potential, Best Team Spirit, Best Attitude, Never Missed a Practice, Attendance at Every Game, Best Injury, etc.
Then you need to decide how those awards will be presented.
Options include: certificates, ribbons, medals, trophies or whatever else you can think of.
Whatever you decide, you need to plan for these well in advance. Certificates could possibly be printed by you, but if you’re ordering customized ribbons, medals or trophies, those will require advance notice – possibly as much as a couple of months.
Who to Invite
- All of the players/athletes/participants should be invited.
- All of the parents of the players/athletes/participants should also be invited.
- Coaches, team managers and scorekeepers are a must.
- Anybody who volunteers regularly to help your team.
- Space and budget-permitting, you could invite: officials – umpires, referees, line judges, etc.
Be sure to ask for RSVPs at least a week in advance (or sooner, if your venue requires). This is imperative to ensure you have enough food, drink, seating, etc. (Don’t forget to include meals for any volunteers you recruit to help out at the banquet itself: with registration, greeting and directing people, helping hand out awards, etc.)
- If appropriate, this could be as simple as having your head coach thank everybody, share some anecdotes from the season and hand out awards.
- Or think in terms of program/team alumni who might be available to speak for a few minutes about their own experiences with the team.
- If possible, invite a local “hero” (for example, a retired MLB player for a Little League Banquet), or prominent community member (mayor, city council member, police chief, etc.) This could be a fun way to tie-in your team with the neighborhood.
For more fun event ideas, Hazeltine’s catering sales manager, Jan Knudtson shares her tips and ideas for planning a sports banquet in Minnesota.
Hazeltine National Golf Club is a private golf club located in Chaska, Minn., about 30 minutes southwest of downtown Minneapolis. The club opened in 1962 with a mission to build and maintain a golf course suitable for the conduct of national championships. Hazeltine is one of only two courses in the United States to have hosted the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur, and Ryder Cup. Hazeltine’s meeting and event space, golf shop and specified services in the learning center are open to the public. More information about becoming a member at Hazeltine is available at www.hazeltinenational.com.
Topics: Sports Banquets