Fall is a season of changes and the Utah Lacrosse Association has taken notice. Last week, Cindy Aikens was elected to serve as the ULA President. She will finish the term of former President Darrell Robinson, who resigned in the Summer, and then will start her own two year tenure. Prior to serving as President, Aikens served on the Board of Directors of the ULA as the Vice President and prior to that she was the Boys High School League Commissioner for almost a decade.
I had a chance to interview Aikens about her new position:
ULN: What are you hoping to accomplish as President of the ULA?
CA: I would like to see smart growth in youth, girls and boys. Our Men’s League participation is increasing as our high school and college players age up. I would like to see something for the post collegiate women. We have used our ULA team grant program to provide thousands of dollars to our teams for their growth by allowing them to purchase goals, sticks, scoreboards, etc. This helps provide resources at a direct level for these teams. This program also distributes the team match grants for new teams entering our Leagues. These are small examples of where I see an opportunity to affect smart growth.
ULN: What are biggest challenges you see in the near future?
CA: As always, we have a shortage of fields and officials. Our current economy has had an impact on our players and teams. Also, as our sport grows in Utah we will face significant challenges. Each of us will need to rise to the level of work required to face those challenges. Communication with our community is vital. We at the ULA have been working hard to improve our website, we have a Facebook page and twitter. I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
ULN: How can the lacrosse community help you?
CA: Become an official, a coach, a parent rep, a committed fan, a player. We have some of the best people in the world involved in Utah Lacrosse!
ULN: Any other comments?
CA: Our Board of Directors are all volunteers and many have faithfully served the Utah Lacrosse community for years. Without those dedicated individuals we could not have made the progress we have in the past. If you are interested in joining the Board of Directors, you will find the application at www.utahlax.org. Our boys, girls and youth councils are also all volunteer. These are the individuals who make our Leagues function. They spend countless hours working to improve our policies and enable our players to increase their level of competitiveness. Say thank you to our hardworking staff when you see them. They put in long hours to keep our Leagues and events functioning.
Other members of the ULA Board were elected as well:
President, Cindy Aikens (email@example.com)
Vice-President, Dan Dugan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Secretary, Larry Ferdig (email@example.com)
Treasurer, Cole Sloan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
At-Large, Jim Brandon (email@example.com)
The ULA also announced that Steve Stenerson, CEO & President of US Lacrosse will be speaking at the ULA State Convention in January.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Skyline Head Coach Dan Schmidt. “I think it really puts us on the map from a lacrosse organizational perspective. It will be interesting to hear his thoughts on the growth of lacrosse West of Baltimore and what he sees as US lacrosse’s role over the next few years to support the growth in the West.”
Also recently announced, ULA Executive Director, Lisa Schmidt, will be heading to Philadelphia in January to speak at the US Lacrosse National Convention.
“I think it says a lot that US Lacrosse has asked someone from Utah to speak about chapter development at the National Convention,” said Dan Schmidt. “She has done so much to try and bring lacrosse in Utah to a more national level.”
Under Schmidt, the ULA hosted the first ever Western Region Chapter meeting and it was attended by 15 chapters including one from Alaska. The ULA is one of the first western states to host a US Lacrosse Level II coaches training session. Schmidt is also the youngest person to sit on the Board of US Lacrosse.