The Scoop Winter 2016 - Page 10

Grassroots Up

The Regional directors

and the tall task of governance

By Quinn Waddell

Inside the private, rustic back room of the Tanner Tavern in Woburn, Northwest Regional Director Jim Dalton holds the region's monthly meeting. Refreshments are provided for the entirely volunteer group of town directors; there are about twenty in total. An agenda was sent before the meeting, detailing the evening's business: items such as team registration, game scheduling, new vendors, and rule changes.

“From the region's meeting, I will take things I need to bring back to the board of directors. When we have the board meetings, one of the agenda items is the Northwest region and I talk about where things are, and how the last meeting went, and what are the concerns,” explains Dalton. Dalton appreciates being on a board that values his meetings and how things are going: “[Communications Director] Joey Picard follows up and emails about how the meeting went: What came up? What was well received? What are the concerns?” Being asked about how the meeting went means a lot to Dalton, who enjoys being on a board that listens and respects him.

A regional director acts as a “liaison between town programs in the region and the board of Mass Bay Youth Lacrosse (MBYLL),” says West Central Director Chuck LaPosta, “I bring the wants, needs, and objectives of each town program to the board.” In most cases, the towns in a region have less connection to the board and very little direct interaction. This means the regional director is often the only access to the all-volunteer executive committee.

For a regional director, there may not be a smooth transition in leadership. If one steps down or retires, someone from the group of towns in the region must volunteer to take over the position, as there are seldom elections. When someone steps up to become a new regional director, the towns confirm and that person assumes leadership. In the case of Joe Coleman, the South Central regional director, when it came time for a new director he was specifically asked to do the job. “They looked for someone in the group of towns who would step up, and there wasn’t someone on the board at the time who was ready from that current group of town directors, so they reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in being the regional director,” says Coleman.

A regional director must commit for two years at a time and this year is Coleman’s fourth year on the board. He has been involved in youth lacrosse for 20 years and at one point had run Walpole’s town program and served on the competition committee for the South Central region. Coleman explains that “generally a person runs the town program, comes to the regional meetings, gets on one of the five or six different committees (such as competition or scheduling), and then from there, after some time, can get more involved and work his or her way into a position like regional director.”

A regional director also must represent the league in addition to the group of towns. This requires reaching a balance that Northeast Regional Director Ken Swenson says is not always complimentary. “Collisions occur when MBYLL states policy or direction and then does not follow through on the execution. This causes massive issues at the regional level as the regional director is the lightening rod for the regional programs' frustrations,” says Swenson.

10 The Scoop / Winter '16