Youth athletic programs provide an opportunity for children to learn social responsibilities, leadership skills and confidence for life, not to mention the healthy lifestyle that is closely associated with sport and physical activity. Without volunteers, however, youth sports would not be possible.
Nick Kisch, Yankton Jr Bucks Wrestling coach and Board Member, is one of those volunteers who work tirelessly to making local youth programs a success. Kisch was recently awarded as United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton’s Volunteer of the Month for his passion and dedication to youth in Yankton.
“Nick is passionate about giving back to youth in our community and serves as a board member and hands on helper” stated Shana Platt, JR Bucks Wrestling parent, who nominated Kisch for the award. “He has coached hundreds of youth throughout the years and serves as a positive, caring adult role model for each of them”.
We asked Nick to share, in his own words, more about his volunteer efforts.
I have lived in the Yankton are since 1983, born and raised right here in Yankton.
I began volunteering when I was in high school, so about 2000. I served on the CCYM (Conference Council of Youth Ministry) for the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. My passion for service has its roots in my time on the CCYM. Many of the amazing adult leaders that served during my two years on the CCYM helped build the strong foundation of faith, compassion and empathy for those you serve, and joy of being a servant leader that still serve me to this day in everything I help with.
I continue volunteering because I love it, it’s really that simple. It’s what I feel everyone is called to do in one way or another. I spend most of my time volunteering now through youth sports, trying to pass on my love of competition and building relationships with the kids I am blessed to work with.
I volunteer at the Yankton Jr. Bucks Wrestling Club, as the President the past two years, as well as helping coach as much as possible during the week at practices and on the weekends at tournaments. I’ve spent the past six years serving on the South Dakota Junior Football board, as the facilities chair for the Missouri Valley Conference. Those same six years have also been spent on the sideline coaching at least one team (and a couple times two) during each season, either in the PeeWee (3rd & 4th) or Junior (5th & 6th) division. During that same time, I’ve helped with the 1st & 2nd grade flag football league on the board as well as a coach.
The last year and a half I’ve been honored to be a part of an amazing group of people on the Jaxon L. Boomsma Keep His Smile Alive Memorial, helping to improve the parks around Yankton to honor the memory of an amazing little boy! On top of that, I’ve spent time as a Sunday School Teacher and helped with the Senior High youth group at First United Methodist Church, the Lewis & Clark Home Builders Association (as President and board member), and a few years on the South Dakota Home Builders Association board.
Between football and wrestling seasons (and the off-season meetings), and all the others sprinkled throughout, I spend approximately 500 hours per year volunteering
Volunteer work is enjoyable because of the impact you can make on those you serve, and the life-long relationships that form because of that impact. Being able to watch a young athlete grow, not only year to year, but from the start of a season to the end is pretty special. Watching the joy on a kid’s face after they accomplish something they never thought they could do, or watching them take on leadership roles on their own teams, and watching them learn to push themselves and their teammates to be not just better athletes but better people, will never get old. Getting to be able to be a tiny part of this and take these journeys alongside my boys and their friends, makes that much more special.
I’m not sure I could pick one volunteer experience that sticks out above everything else as my favorite, I would just say that I’ve learned to try to take in little joys each and every day I get to serve the youth of our community.
The advice I would give to those thinking about getting out there and volunteering in their communities is to just go do it. I promise, you won’t ever regret giving your time to the awesome kids that are out there.
For more information on local volunteer opportunities, or to nominate a Volunteer of the Month, visit www.yanktonunitedway.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (605)665-6766.