SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane’s only about two months away from one of its biggest summer events.
Hoopfest returns to downtown Spokane in late June, but there's still a ton of work to do before the 3-on-3 tournament tips off, including recruiting volunteers.
Hoopfest Director of Volunteers and Staffing Chad Smith said it’s the volunteers who are the real MVPs in the tournament.
“Hoopfest doesn't happen if we don't have that support system,” he said. “It's just too big of an event for us to run or to go out and pay for people to come work the event. It would just go away."
One of those volunteers is Mike Crowley, who first started off as a player in the tournament before becoming a volunteer in the early 2000s.
"It was fun to be downtown during it, but if you're not on a very good team, you play like three games and you go home and I thought I’d rather stay downtown all weekend. So I figured if I volunteered, could be downtown all day Saturday and all day Sunday,” said Crowley.
He also admitted, “I don't think I knew it was going be 18, 20 hours over the weekend, but I enjoyed every minute of it."
Crowley started off as a court monitor and now works as an area administrator, where he oversees a quarter of the courts. Smith said in recent years they've typically had about 1,500 to 2,000 volunteers annually. He also said they usually see about 60% of their volunteers return year after year, which means they're trying to recruit the remaining 40% to fill in the gaps.
“It's always a little bit of a challenge” said Smith. “We have a lot of popular positions and people are snagging those really quick, but, you know, we can always use more and it looks like our event’s going to grow from where it was last year.”
Every volunteer will get a t-shirt. Court monitors will also get Under Armour gear this year, including brand-new shoes.
But as Crowley knows all too well, volunteering at Hoopfest is about more than the swag: “There are some people that do it for the shoes, but they stay for the fun.”
If you want to be a help as a Hoopfest volunteer, here are some things you need to know:
For those interested in working as a Hoopfest court monitor:
- Court monitoring at Hoopfest is a full weekend commitment.
- You’ll be invited to participate in a two-hour training seminar to prepare for the weekend.
- Volunteers will be able to request from youth, high school or adult courts – male, female or co-ed.
- Court Monitors on youth courts, including grades 2-9, will call all fouls.
- Players on high school and adult courts will call their own fouls.
- Monitors will receive a great package of Under Armour gear, including shoes which will be distributed at the end of the weekend.
Other volunteer positions also include working to distribute beverages, merchandise, team check-in and center court scoring.
Hoopfest takes place June 24-25 in downtown Spokane.
People interested in being a volunteer can sign up here.
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