Chippewa Falls Youth Football's primary goal is to grow its players and coaches into community leaders through the sport of football.
The nonprofit, volunteer-led club impacts the lives of numerous players and coaches. Coach Chad Burger unfolds a story about its passionate donors and how together they secured the future of youth football.
The Club offers flag football to kids in 2nd through 6th grade, and tackle football for 5th through 6th grade kids. Games are held at their new field in Lake Hallie. As a testament to its desirability, several schools across Chippewa County and in Eau Claire host practices so that their students can have a chance to play.
While coach and player development has always been a win for the club, the last 50 years also felt financially unstable for the nonprofit. Coach Burger described the club's history to point out the community's undeniable dedication to its mission. Each time the club faced difficulty; community donors were there to support them. In the early years, Arnie Pelhke, club volunteer and Jim Knapp kept the club afloat financially.
Twenty years ago, they operated [with many thanks] from a donated storage space. When they outgrew their practice field, the Club faced the possible consequence of closing their doors. In that case, it was Donna Weber and her husband Gordy Schafer who gave the club a lifetime lease on family land. The club named it Weber Fields to honor this family. It was clear that this club was making a difference, and the players, coaches, schools, and community wanted this Club to be permanent.
"Our community noticed the financial struggles we faced, and the Club needed more stability," said Jason Darley, CFYF Capital Fund Chairperson.
In 2017 Jason led the Club in a 3-phased plan to reduce debt, improve equipment and facilities, and raise funds to support its future. They started with a list of basic needs and the community called each other to task. Coach Burger responded, "We were impressed. We finished the first 2 phases of our plan in 2 months!"
CFYF raised enough money to build operational headquarters at Weber Fields, buy a scoreboard, purchase equipment, and even open an endowment fund. The endowment will be used for capital sustainability.
"It will give us long-term support of the Club's operations," finished Jason.
From the coach's perspective, Chad said, "[The endowment] allows us to shift our focus away from keeping our doors open and toward creating opportunities for our players. It's really all about giving our players the best experience possible."
When asked about the future of the club, Coach Burger said, "On our 100th anniversary, we want to see that we have made community leaders and that our endowment continues to provide the facilities and infrastructure to continue that, forever."
Established to support expenses related to the Chippewa Falls Youth Football Program.