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FAQ – Pickup the Ball

Membership FAQ’s

How much does it cost to join?

All services are provided to our members free of charge.  There is no cost to join.

Why can’t females join?

Currently Pickup the Ball is an all-male organization, but we hope to add Pickup the Ball for Females as part of our expansion.  We made a conscious decision to focus strictly on males because the issues they face are often specific to their role in the community as males and it allows us to narrow our focus of issues we address.  Also, because of the age group we work with, males are sometimes more free to speak their minds in the way we hope they will if their female peers aren’t present.

My child is 13 but has all the same needs as your members.  Why can’t he join?

The programs and services we provided are geared toward older teens and young adults.  We would encourage anyone not yet in high school who is interested in participating to seek out a member and ask them to mentor them.

Do you have to be a good basketball player to join?

We don’t care if you’re a good player or not.  Because of the nature of our organization, most of our members are athletes in some sport, but that is not a requirement for membership.

I want to be a Teammate, but I have a lot of obligations, including school, work and family.  Can I join?

Pickup the Ball understands that you have many interests and obligations, sometimes conflicting.  We do not want to add to the stress in your life.  If you have a lot going on and cannot make a commitment, a Social Membership may be right for you.  This allows you to be connected and affiliated with us, still be able to access some resources, without the weekly commitment.  You can read more about membership levels here.

Mission FAQ’s

What is your mission?

Our mission statement is here.

I understand your mission, but what specifically do you do?

A more specific description of what we do can be read here.

Why do you work with the age group you work with?

Between the ages of 16 and 24, many transitions can take place in a young man’s life.  They may be graduating from high school, deciding on or entering college, getting their driver’s license, looking at purchasing their first job, car or even home, and generally taking on more responsibilities in their lives.  This is a time when young men needs as much support as possible, ad many young men out there don’t have the support they need to get through that time well.  We want to provide that support.

Is this a religious organization?

We do not have a religious affiliation.  However, research has shown that our young people who are connected and active in a faith-based institution are less likely to be involved in harmful behaviors such as violence and drug abuse.  Therefore, we encourage participation in some kind of church or youth group where our members can practice their faith and be connected with others who share their beliefs.

Why do you meet every week?

Meeting regularly is an important part of providing stability and consistency for our members.  We have tried other intervals, and we have found a weekly meeting is preferable to maintain communications and provide our members with the kind of program they are seeking.

Operational FAQ’s

How many members are a part of the organization?

Currently we have about 20 active members, and about as many social members.  You can read more about membership levels here.

How do you support your members?

We are available to our members throughout the week for whatever needs might arise in their lives.  While we can’t always meet every need, we try to help them work through whatever problem created the need so that they can solve the problem themselves.  We have assisted our members in finding jobs, getting clothes for interviews or work, getting their drivers licenses, finding cars for purchase, and for support in their daily lives when they need advice or just someone to listen.

Purpose FAQ’s

What is Opportunity Youth and why is it important?

Opportunity Youth is anyone 16-24 years of age who is not working and not in school.  You can read more about Opportunity Youth here.  There is a lot of data about this demographic which helps us define social costs, expectations for success, and best practices.  Our goal is to assist those categorized as Opportunity Youth in bringing themselves out of that, and helping those most likely to become Opportunity youth avoid it in the first place.  Go here to read more about Opportunity Youth.

What is the need, and why is there a need?

Too often our young adults get most of their life guidance from their peers; people ho may not have much more of an idea about how to approach certain aspects of life than they do.  This can lead to cycles of behavior that become unproductive and counter to the goals that many young men set for themselves.  Much, but not all of this need has come about because of the absence of fathers or positive male role models that serve a fatherly purpose for a young man.  The lack of support from a child’s father can lead to a wide variety of behaviors that are no productive in a young man’s life.  Go here to read more about Opportunity Youth.

How did you discover this need?

The need is apparent to anyone who gets out and gets to know young men in distressed situations.  A characteristic of Opportunity Youth is that they are very interested in helping themselves, but they need the guidance, support and knowledge to do so.  So they will usually tell you what their needs are because they recognize the needs and are looking for people to help point them in the right direction.  Go here to read more about Opportunity Youth.

Can I attend a meeting?

Visit our page about getting involved to read about being a guest at a meeting.

Basketball FAQ’s

Are you a basketball league, team or a training organization? 

Pickup the Ball is not a part of a league, and does not currently have a travel ball team.  This is not a major focus of our organization.  We also do not provide basketball trainings.  It doesn’t matter to us if a player is good or not.  If this is a priority for a teammate, and we can connect them with a trainer, we will help with that.

Do you organize pickup basketball games?

The great thing about pickup basketball is that the players organize it on their own.  We don’t need to organize games, nor do we want to interfere with the culture of pickup basketball.  We respect this culture, and only want to support it.  Outside of games that happen after our meetings, we only go to the courts to meet players and take part in what is already occurring.

Fun FAQ’s

What is the significance of the name?

Pickup the Ball started at basketball courts where they were playing pickup basketball.  This was an important part of our origin, and athletics continues to be an important part of our members lives and our organization.  However, there is another meaning behind the name, which is the fact that somewhere in the lives of many young men, a ball was dropped by someone.  We are here, not to judge or point fingers, but to help them pickup that ball and keep going.

Who is Ted Sottong?

Ted is our founder and current CEO.  You can read more about Ted here.

Why is there photography on this site?

One of the ways we reach out to the community of young athletes is through photographing their sports.  They love having their pictures taken during games, and often their parents can’t come to games, so it is a way for them to see and take pride in their child’s accomplishments.  Being able to provide pictures for these young men keeps our name in front of them, makes them ask questions about who we are and what we do, and drives traffic to our website.

What is your dream/long term goal?

We are on the verge of major growth as an organization.  We have developed a methodology that is scalable and effective, so ultimately, we would like to be providing services through localized Pickup the Ball branches to young men and women throughout the country, or even the world.  Young people all over the world need to know that they have the support of their elders, their community, the people they look up to and on whom they depend to train them in life.  Every young person deserves that.