Eagle Rock Yacht Club
Through dodgeball, civic service, partnerships with rec centers and our youth, The Yacht Club inspires Angelenos to pursue the common good.
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2 Submitted Ideas
- CONNECT ·2014 Grants Challenge
The Yacht Club will recruit, select and develop 6 leaders to launch community dodgeball leagues in under-resourced neighborhoods across LA.
- 2013 Grants Challenge
During our journey, The Yacht Club has seemingly stumbled upon a way to completely re-imagine the traditional non-profit model in a way that potentially solves one of the greatest struggles in the non-profit sector: How do we motivate people to volunteer?
It turns out...it’s dodgeball.
The Yacht Club utilizes the nostalgia of dodgeball to reinvigorate struggling city parks while providing tailor made youth programming to the children of the surrounding community -- Our idea is to expand our efforts & programming to 3 additional LA City Rec & Parks centers in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of LA.
We started The Yacht Club as a social experiment in 2008. Once a week, we would ask dodgeball-deprived Angelenos to complete a different philanthropic task in exchange for an hour or two of (slightly) organized dodgeball. They’d swing by a drugstore as they made their way to the Highland Park Rec Center to pick up a toothbrush, box of tampons, or any other needed item. By the end of the two hour dodgeball workout, we’d have a bag full of goodies to drop off at any number of local charities (the Downtown Women’s Shelter, Humane Society, LA Food Bank & others). It was our way of doing a little good while having a little fun.
As The Yacht Club’s vision became clearer, our efforts to achieve the common good followed suit. We began to focus our attention on the kids at these parks whose programs were being slashed due to budget cuts. Now, we began asking these same dodgeball players to hide eggs on Easter, to hand out toys with Santa on Christmas, & to spend their Friday nights playing dodgeball with kids. Suddenly, three years had blown by when we received a letter from the IRS…
"Dear Applicant: We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status, we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code…"
Sure, we were excited, but this would mean that The Yacht Club would need to evolve. So we assembled a Board of Directors, acquired an office, & got to work.
Now, as we head into our 5th year, we bring roughly 500 adults and 100 kids into LA City Rec & Parks centers each week with chapters in Glassell Park, Venice, & North Hollywood. In addition to their donation of time and goods, participant league fees received from the adult dodgeball pay for permit fees, equipment and helps fund our customized kids programs. Using the resources from our adult league participants, every week, we use the game of dodgeball to significantly impact at least 6 of LA2050's 8 indicators:
1. Health: The Yacht Club uses dodgeball to encourage kids and adults to run, jump, duck, throw, catch, block, laugh, smile and banter for a couple of hours each week.
In addition, The Yacht Club chapters in Venice & Glassell Park partnered with Whole Foods to create Yacht Grub – a free cooking class for kids that focuses on the education & benefits of healthy eating.
2. Education: Once we've used kid’s dodgeball to establish relationships & build trust with our kids, we work with LA City Rec & Parks’ staff & coordinators to create workshops & classes designed to bridge the gap between traditional schooling & extracurricular activities. We focus on critical thinking & artistic expression through photography and kids cooking & gardening workshops.
3. Social Connectedness: Whether it’s kids or adults, dodgeball plays a key part in the development of the social skills necessary to become a productive and proactive part of our communities. We're working to create a much-needed social outlet for kids and young professionals by providing opportunities to get involved in their local community, to forge new relationships & to volunteer in unique ways that directly benefit their neighborhood.
4. Public Safety: The Yacht Club changes the perceptions of our communities by creating safe, alternative spaces for kids to spend their time. The work we do encourages positive experiences & interactions in LA City Parks & Rec centers.
5. Environmental Quality: The Yacht Club increases access to open spaces & parks by creating positive experiences & maximizing utilization of LA City Rec & Parks centers. Additionally, we introduce our participants to community gardens in the areas served.
6. Arts & Cultural Vitality: Cultural and artistic activities run rampant in our programs. For example, Yacht Pix is a pilot program in our Venice chapter that puts cameras in the hands of teens. This scavenger hunt-style class aims to teach basic photography skills, to encourage critical thinking, & to help kids expand their artistic talents. This winning formula creates a catalyst for real change in the youth & communities of LA & a grant from the Goldhirsh Foundation & Good Worldwide will enable us to expand our efforts to 3 additional parks by the end of 2013.