Sports nonprofits angle for Live PC Give PC funds |

Sports nonprofits angle for Live PC Give PC funds

Park City Soccer Club’s George Pineda, left, moves the ball down field during its U-19 matchup against Copper Mountain Soccer in July during the Park City Extreme Cup soccer competition. Pineda is expected to be starring for the Park City Miners high school team come this spring. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

An annual tradition in Park City is back on Friday when Live PC Give PC returns to the mountain town for a day of laughter, love and, most importantly, giving.

Every November, the Park City Community Foundation brings the community together as Park City nonprofits come up with different ideas to help raise funds for their respective programs by standing on the corner of streets, taking up tables at local businesses and in other creative ways.

Park City Soccer Club

The Park City Soccer Club is one of Park City’s largest sports nonprofits, counting nearly 550 participants including players, coaches and staff. The organization exists to help inspire local youth to develop their competitive soccer skills by emphasizing respect, sportsmanship and teamwork to help stimulate growth in multiple facets of life.

“We live in a huge soccer community, so we are incredibly lucky to have the support that we have from everyone associated with us,” said Shelley Gillwald, executive director of PCSC. “We everything from a little kids’ program to teams from under-9 through under-19 (leagues) with some of those age groups even having multiple teams based on skill level.”

PCSC also hosts the Extreme Cup every year, with 460 teams participating in the event this year. Through that, PCSC grants up to nearly $80,000 a year in scholarships alone for kids unable pay club dues, with 73 using those scholarships this year.

With the funds raised during last year’s Live PC Give PC, PCSC was able to implement a leadership development program that gives captains from teams the ability to learn new team-building skills that they can take back to their teammates.

“Live-Give is our only true fundraiser effort for the entire year, and because of it we were able to ensure an open play program, a captain’s program and an advisory program to help kids with college enrollment,” Gillwald said. “All the things that we’ve done to help the kids have come from Live-Give, as it’s been essential to our success. We want to keep kids serious about soccer and not have them go down into the (Salt Lake Valley) for that experience.”

First Tee of Utah

Back in 1997, a group of people asked a question: “why don’t more kids play golf?”

And with that, the national nonprofit First Tee was born. The organization aims to increase access to youth golf in under served communities as well as teach kids about the core values of life on and off the course. Notably, Harold Varner and Cameron Champ are two prominent golfers who the nonprofit counts as alumni.

“We use golf as a vehicle to teach kids things they will need in order to become successful adults in society,” said Paul Pugmire, executive director of First Tee of Utah. “There is so much you can learn about life from the game of golf, and we make sure the kids who come through the program understand that. What sets golf apart is that it doesn’t allow you to become a better person, it demands it. … And that’s something everyone can be.”

The Utah chapter has 14 locations throughout the state, using the Canyons Golf Course and Promontory Golf Club for its Park City operations.

According to Pugmire, Live PC Give PC is vital to the success of the Park City locations because all of the money raised in Park City will stay there. The money raised is used to support the “no kid turned away” theme, something Pugmire and his staff take pride in.

“If somebody ever wants to come out and participate in First Tee, we just automatically say yes regardless of their ability to pay,” Pugmire said. “We let them in and then figure out the cost afterwards. The money we raise is to help support the cost of programming, and with whatever is left over goes to training coaches and purchasing equipment.”

The First Tee accepts golfers of any skill level to learn about the nine core values the organization emphasizes.

“Golf is a game for a lifetime where the lessons learned on the course will directly influence the kids for when they become adults,” Pugmire said. “Our objective isn’t to develop PGA tour players … Our objective is to help foster in the next generation of successful adults who are working to improve their communities.”

Winter Sports School

Park City is an important destination for winter sports in North America, regularly hosting international competitions at the ski resorts and Olympic facilities across town. A number of prominent winter athletes call the city home, too.

But because prime winter conditions come during the public school year, a group of local parents founded the Winter Sports School in 1994 as a secondary option for student athletes looking to take advantage of the winter weather and explore their talent.

Erin Bragg, development director at the Winter Sports School, has charted the progress of the academy.

“Now, we are an accredited charter school with a very high graduation rate. Our curriculum is very challenging and asks a lot of our students, but they thrive in it.”

The Winter Sports school begins its school year in mid-April and concludes it in mid-November, with two weeklong breaks for the 4th of July and Labor Day, respectively. This frees students up to focus on their respective sport and travel during the ski and snowboard season. Although classes happen during the summer, those who attend are allowed to participate in Park City high school extracurricular activities, like other sports, dances and student council.

But one thing the Winter Sports School doesn’t get is funding from the Park City School District, making the Live PC Give PC day vital as one of their fundraisers.

“We are still new to the fundraising part of Live PC Give PC, having only done it the past few years, but I think we are starting to make progress,” Bragg said. “Our kids will be out on the sidewalk corners with signs, but most importantly it just promotes us as another part of the community. We really want our kids to be a part of this community and this is a great way to do so, especially because we get no money from the district.”

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