By Sue Moore
What does South County Community Services (SCCS) do with 500 pounds of Hamburger Helper and specialty crackers? Well, it’s given to families who use the agency’s food pantry. That huge donation came from the families who took part in Vicksburg’s Rocket football program in the fall.
“We asked what the agency needed the most,” said Valerie Tassell, the program’s secretary. “Over 600 parents and grandparents donated. Each team had a big collection box with their name on it and they were just overflowing with donations. Plus, we were able to give SCCS a cash donation as well.”
“The money came from a registration reimbursement to those that worked a concession stand shift this season; they could take the cash for themselves or donate it to SCCS. I have a check for $375 to give to the agency this week. Sixty-three volunteers donated their reimbursement rather than keeping it for themselves,” she said. Brian Johnson serves as president and Nicole Dalman is the treasurer.
The Vicksburg Rocket program had 325 kids enrolled with 212 playing flag football in 24 teams, said Nick Sertic, the vice president of the organization and lead coach for flag football. “We even had to close registration and turn kids away as some came from other locations. We gave Vicksburg kids a priority. We recruited coaches in June and did background checks on all of them. They were also certified in the Heads-up program, run by the national association for Rocket football. There were three or four girls in flag football for each team. They are actually better athletes at the ages of 9, 10 and 11 than the boys.”
“Our tackle program is much better if the participants have taken part in flag first. They learn speed and use of their hands in flag. The kids have to be Vicksburg-area residents to be on a tackle team. They compete against teams from Mattawan, Portage, and others in the Kalamazoo Valley area. Part of the joy of playing is being in the Vicksburg stadium on a Saturday morning in the fall as they are not just out playing in some farmer’s field,” Sertic said. “Even if kids don’t want to play tackle football, flag can be a stepping stone to other sports because of the conditioning they take part in. It’s all about the cameraderie.”