In Billerica, Massachusetts, Pop Warner Football and Cheer gets everyone involved. The Association has been active for over five decades in the small town just north of Boston. That means that today’s coaches were once linebackers themselves. Moms coach cheer. Grandparents and aunts and uncles work at the snack shop. Sundays are special. And everyone gets involved.
Billerica fields teams in every Pop Warner division. That’s eight football squads and six cheer teams. Over two-hundred-fifty kids, ages five to fourteen, participate. For a squad that provides everything except cleats to each and every member, that’s a lot of gear. Not to mention that the football coaches at Billerica are all Heads Up certified, and the Association covers travel expenses for away games. Between the gear, the travel, and continuing education to keep kids safe, the program would be prohibitively expensive for many families if they didn’t work all year to raise money to fund the Association.
The involvement with the kids doesn’t end when they age out of Pop Warner, either. The Association continues to help their kids as they grow up, funding around a dozen scholarships every year to help former players and cheerleaders achieve their college dreams. It’s a community in every sense of the word.
“Our families step up whenever asked,” said Melissa Micciche, the fundraising executive board member for Billerica. “From volunteering at the regional cheer competitions to donating money to our Pop Warner families who lost everything last season in the nationally televised gas explosions in Lawrence and Andover, MA.”
That’s an awe-inspiring commitment to the community, and it doesn’t come cheap.
Occasionally, teams come up against something that requires a big investment, and last year that was a new scoreboard. But this was their first year fundraising with Double Good, so Melissa and her team had no idea what to expect. They didn’t have much time to plan, and only about a dozen of the kids got involved with the fundraiser, but they hit the ground running and sold over eighteen-thousand dollars. More than enough for the new scoreboard with some to spare, Melissa said,“just selling popcorn.” And they’re set to surpass that this year.