SoB Supporters Summit Recap
The Sons of ben held the 3rd Supporter's Summit at the Field House in Center City on August 13th. On hand were members of the Leadership Board and over two dozen members. Present among the Board were, President Kenny Hanson, Vice President Lorenzo Rivera, Tailgates/Special Events Coordinator Ami Rivera, Tifo Coordinator and Ryan Bross. Andy Sherlock and Jeremy Sharpe were also on hand representing the Capos. Feedback/Membership Coordinator Tim Sosar was the emcee for the evening.
The Summit began with opening remarks from Kenny, who laid out the plans for the upcoming Elections. The elections will seat 2 members on the Board, who will act as Board Members At Large. That way, they will learn the ins and outs of the roles the various Board members have, will have a vote on Board matters, and will be prepared for specific roles as the Board evolves. Potential candidates should be prepared to discuss they involvement in the organization to this point, any philanthropic activity they have participated in (either with the SoB's or elsewhere) and how they can serve both the Board and membership. The Board is particularly interested in candidates who have an accounting background, preferably a CPA. The elections will be conducted through a secure, third party website and we are currently reviewing our options. The elections are being planned for November.
Additionally, the SoB's are always open to new volunteers who can help with the various aspects of running the organization, from helping out with the tailgates and Tifo set up, to helping run philanthropic events. Interested parties should contact the SoB's through the Feedback link on the website.
As you may know, we now have the opportunity to use our membership cards at Iron Abbey and Fado for discounts, and we are hoping to expand those opportunities in the future. As you all know, we have started a very good relationship with Yards Brewery, who made a beer in our honor and will be our shirt sponsor for The River Cup.
The very first question asked was if Four Leaf Clover would be moved from the 20:10 mark during matches. Jeremy explained that he liked the tradition, and how there are some impediments to moving it to say, the players entrance, when the MLS Anthem is playing (which was a popular suggestion). Other things play a role, too. If people haven't arrived yet for the start, or are still in the concourse for the start of the 2nd half, we still won't have as many singing as we like. No firm decision on the matter was made, but it was clearly a big topic to those present.
Jeremy continued to discuss how there is an effort to get more people involved in Capo'ing as Section Leaders, and if you're interested, please let us know. We discussed how the outer sections can lag in picking up songs and chants, and having more people to help coordinate is crucial to that. That includes the rest of the Park where (as it was pointed out) the words or rhythm can get lost very easily. One attendee from section 139 brought up how he has tried to help in his way and that kind of eagerness is what we need more of. We are always interested in hearing the thoughts of all members, particularly the newer folks, who may be able to provide some ideas of their own. To that end, the Song and Chant Contest brought in 50 entries, and we are going to be rolling out the finalists soon.
Ami discussed Tailgates and the idea of having more joint tailgates with supporters from visiting teams. While that may not always be the way to go (cough, Red Bulls, cough) the tailgate in April with the DC fans showed it could not only be done, but it would be fun. Those in attendance were supportive to the idea and there is already a plan to have a joint tailgate with DC when the Union visit lovely RFK stadium on September 27th. We want as many people there as we can get!
In regards to Philanthropy, it was discussed how much the SoB's have already done this year and what we still have ahead. The SoB's have already donated more money in the first half of 2014 than in any other full year that we have existed. Bill Gusler has worked tirelessly to not only continue the traditional events but expand on them, with the recently conducted - and quite successful - Pints Fur Pets event. That being said, we are always open to new ideas.
That was a running theme for the night....while we have ideas of our own, we want to know what you think and what you would like to see. We on the Board are the caretakers and ultimate decision makers, but we can't do anything without your support and participation. We want everyone in the organization to feel as though they are a valued part, and we know that any group can't survive in the long haul without everyone taking part. That means helping us grow the game through the supporter culture, increasing the positive image of the Sons of Ben, and of course, helping make our team just as popular (if not more so) than those who call South Philly "home". Members of the Board are going to make an effort to be more interactive with the membership, and we hope that you find us just as accessible as those before us.
The big question from the Board to the membership was, what would you like to see the Sons of Ben do better moving forward? That drew a number of responses from our Twitter followers, which you can see here (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AskTheSoBs&src=typd). In terms of paid membership, only Seattle has a larger supporter's group. While we could try to become bigger, we simply want to be better.
We are very grateful to everyone who came out and we had a great discussion. As you may have noticed, we didn't talk about a large quantity of topics, but those we had, we discussed thoroughly. And it was good.