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Volunteerism in Tehachapi

Xs and Arrows

I spend quite a bit of time volunteering with the Tehachapi Warrior Booster Club. It is a small organization bringing big contributions to our local high school athletics teams at Tehachapi High.

My involvement dates back to my return to the community several years ago and the shambles many of our teams were experiencing. Playing games in decades-old uniforms on fields that were long past their prime and were receiving little or no attention. It is not like me to just stand by, and I wanted to make sure when someone went on that field or court with "Tehachapi" on their uniform, they represented our town appropriately.

With help from a small board of directors, the school district and some volunteers we have made a difference, there is still plenty of work to do but the changes are palpable. I get asked the question as to why I am so involved with drumming up sponsor support and making time commitments when my own kids are years away from competing at the prep level.

The answer is part practical and part philosophical. First, yes, it is common for many volunteers in any organization, especially youth sports to be parents of kids that are competing. This is a wonderful thing, whether they are coaches, board members or officials they take a more vested role to ensure the organization has what it needs to move forward. That is commonplace. I agree with that principle wholeheartedly, but I also understand the need for more people than just parents of players.

Volunteering is not about personal gain, it is an investment in an organization, a mission and a vision for future generations to enjoy. Hence my involvement with the Booster Club. If I would like my own kids a decade from now to be able to compete for the same program I did, I need to be involved now to lay that groundwork to ensure they have a place to compete. It is about the future, not the present. It is also about paying back something that you enjoy-to help maintain its viability for years to come.

I am not here to just tout the benefits of volunteering with the Booster Club either. If you enjoy something, take a part in creating it as well. This community has no shortage of organizations in and out of sports where you can contribute and have influence. Do you enjoy pro rodeo? To make sure those 4th of July bull riding events and Mountain Festival PRCA Rodeos continue, you might want to reach out to the Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo Association and lend a hand. Do you enjoy the theatre? The Tehachapi Community Theatre is the right group for you to ensure live productions continue at the BeeKay Theatre for years to come. Maybe trains and Tehachapi history is your thing, that is where Friends of the Tehachapi Depot, the Heritage League and the Tehachapi Visitor Center come into play. There is an opportunity to share your enthusiasm and your passion with others.

In my experience every organization or interest needs a cheerleader. They need someone to carry a torch for their cause and a few others around to not only help, but be a part of succession planning, because the future of the organizations and the opportunities they present must continue. There has been a shift with some of the organizations in this community, they need future leadership to get involved now so the fabric of Tehachapi can continue with these wonderful organizations and offerings that make us so unique.

So as you prepare for the next school year, the next athletics season for your kids or the next phase of your life in general, maybe think about how your expertise can be used to help further a local cause and provide some additional value to the community. Our people are our greatest commodity in Tehachapi, and there is no shortage of knowledge and know how between us all. We should continue to invest in that commodity by investing in each other and our well-being.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. He advocates for the value of athletic competition and serves as the Vice President of the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club. He can be reached at [email protected].