The New Jersey Lacrosse Foundation, also known as the New Jersey North Chapter of US Lacrosse, is being honored this quarter through the Chapter Recognition Program for their consistent delivery of support to the New Jersey lacrosse community for over 20 years. Currently led by Chapter President Matt Kovachik, the chapter has a very active board that is focused on supporting the continuing growth of the sport in conjunction with US Lacrosse’s mission and vision. The chapter is the largest chapter in the Mid-Atlantic Region and the third largest in the nation, with a membership that is just shy of 25,000 members.
Like many other US Lacrosse chapters, education and training of lacrosse coaches and officials is a recurring initiative for the NJ North chapter. The chapter financially supports both the men’s and women’s officials associations so that they are equipped to provide the necessary training for new and existing officials. Earlier this year, the local youth girls’ league, Jersey Girls Lacrosse Association (JGLA), hosted a US Lacrosse Coaches Education Program (CEP) clinic for the region. The chapter plans to supplement the JGLA clinic by hosting additional CEP clinics in late 2014. Currently, the chapter is one of the leaders in coaches’ certification from the Mid-Atlantic region, with close to 25% of its women’s coaches and 10% of its men’s coaches fully certified.
The northern region of New Jersey has an established youth league for both the girls’ and boys’ games; the Jersey Girls Lacrosse Association (JGLA) and the New Jersey Junior Lacrosse League (NJJLL). The chapter works closely with both leagues and provides financial support so that the leagues can continue to grow and provide the best possible playing experience for the combined 25,000 participating youth players. Outside of the two established leagues, the chapter board is also supporting three new start programs throughout this spring and summer.
In addition to the education and supportive roles of the chapter, the New Jersey Lacrosse Foundation has been able to establish a number of chapter hosted events over the years. At the close of each lacrosse season, the chapter hosts the New Jersey Jamboree, which is a senior all-star game for high school graduates, a round robin tournament for local youth teams and a recognition event to honor the US Lacrosse All-American and Academic All-Americans. This year’s jamboree was held on June 8 and provided almost 650 players with an opportunity to compete and be recognized.
The chapter also hosts an annual golf outing which brings together the lacrosse community to remind them of the chapter’s mission, while also providing them the opportunity to support the chapter and the sport of lacrosse within New Jersey. The golf outing generates some additional funding for the chapter above and beyond the US Lacrosse provided funding, which helps the chapter to make an even larger impact within their community. This year’s event will be on August 4.
Lastly, the two New Jersey chapters partner in order to host an annual state-wide Hall of Fame event. This past February the chapters inducted their 16th class into the New Jersey Chapter Hall of Fame, which now proudly recognizes a total of 162 inductees.