FAQUpdated Monday April 2, 2018 by BELLINGHAM AYFC REGISTRAR.
Can players and cheerleaders from other towns register with Bellingham AYFC?
Yes! Children residing in Blackstone, Bellingham and Millville are eligible to register. Residents of other towns that do not have an AYFC league in their town are able to join.
Do the cheer teams compete?
Yes! To youth cheerleaders, competition is their time to shine. While they greatly enjoy their primary role at each local football game, they equally enjoy the opportunity to perform on the competition floor. AYFC is committed to creating a positive competitive environment, where your cheerleaders can highlight and showcase their skills, while learning how to win with grace and lose with honor. As an added bonus, Bellingham AYFC may decide to compete in additional competitions outside of our league…because we can! Also, AYFC regional and national competitions are held at arenas as opposed to high school gyms.
Who is eligible to play/cheer?
Football is open to players in grades 1-7. Grades 1-3 are eligible for flag football and grades 3 and up are eligile for tackle football. Teams are based on grade with some grades being combined if minimum roster size is not met. Because Bellingham schools have an 8th grade football program, it is not offered at BAYFC.
For cheerleaders, ages range from 5-15 (5-year-olds will serve as team mascots).
What is American Youth Football & Cheer (AYFC) all about?
What are the game rules?
If you’d like to view the rules, please contact us at email@example.com.
How many kids are rostered on each team?
16 minimum (football), 36 max
What type of experience does my child need in order to play/cheer?
None. That’s kind of the point of the program. We teach kids about the game of football and sport of cheer.
Is participation in youth football safe?
American Youth Football has a history of providing a safe environment for all of our members. Kids compete with kids of similar age and grade level. American Youth Football participates in the same safety program and has the same safety standards that Pop Warner does. In fact, AYFC goes one step further in safety by requiring all coaches to receive concussion certificates and that at least one coach per team is CPR/First aid certified.
What is the practice schedule?
Practices begin in August, with flag football starting the last two weeks of August. During August, cheer and tackle football teams will meet four evenings per week, flag football teams will meet twice per week. After school starts, flag will meet once a week and tackle and cheer will meet three days per week. Most practices are held at the middle school or upper soccer fields. As of the 2016 season, we have adopted a no-Friday practice philosophy, so families can enjoy their summer weekends!
In August: Practices will be Monday-Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the middle school fields
What if my child must miss practice?
The first week of practice is critical to all participants. All children must undergo 10 hours of conditioning before they can participate in contact practice. Missing time in August puts your child behind the rest of the team. We strongly urge parents to plan accordingly and avoid prolonged vacations in August.
What happens if practice is canceled or rescheduled?
Practices are called off if weather conditions make it unsafe for the players and cheerleaders. Your coach will implement a system to notify you about cancelled practice. If practice is cancelled before 5 pm, an announcement will be posted to our Facebook group. Most make-up practices are held on Friday night or Saturday morning.
How much does it cost to join?
Our 2018 fees will be $175 for one child, $200 for two with a $225 family maximum. An early bird discount is available if you register prior to May 15th. A $35 volunteer buy-out fee will be added at check out but will be refunded, in cash, on the day you volunteer in the concession stand or on the fields.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes! For more information send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I register my son or daughter?
On-line registration begins in March. Please visit the Registration link on this site to enroll your child(ren).
What is due at paperwork turn in?
Please see the Registration information for what is required.
Equipment will not be issued, and children will not be allowed to participate in practices until all documentation has been turned in to the team's head coach or paperwork coordinator.
Why do I have to give my original birth certificate?
AYFC rules require that all new (were not rostered in with program in the previous season) participants provide an original birth certificate. If you do not have an original, contact the town hall in the town your child was born, the town you resided in when your child was born, or the state office of birth registry to obtain one ASAP. We will make a copy that is then certified by the League. We retain the certified copy from season to season. The original birth certificate will be returned to you in late August – we promise!
What is the refund policy?
No refunds will be issued after July 1st if your child withdraws from the program. The only exception to this policy is if your child has a documented medical condition that disallows participation in football or cheerleading. Refund requests must be made in writing, and can be sent to Bellingham Youth Football&Cheer, PO Box 126, Bellingham, MA 02019 or email@example.com
When are games? How many do we play during the season?
There are 7-8 regular season games. We also plan scrimmages in August. The dates and times of the games are TBD by the Dual County/Tri Valley AYFC League.
What about times and places for the games?
Parents will be given a schedule as soon as it issued by the league. The season has started on Labor Day in recent years. Home games are played at the Bellingham High School football field on Blackstone Street. Most games are played on Sundays although sometimes Friday night or Saturday games are scheduled. Each head coach sets his or her own policy about when players and cheerleaders should report to the field on game day. Most football coaches expect players to arrive at the field 1 1/2 hours before game time and most cheer coaches expect cheerleaders to arrive at the field 1 hour before game time.
What about my child’s playing time?
AYF has Minimum Play Rules (MPR). All players must play a minimum number of plays in each game. The number is dependent on level and size of the squad. Parents assist coaches on each team to track minimum plays. Players are not guaranteed equal playing time.
Are there playoffs?
Yes, for the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grade squads.
Will cheerleaders participate in competitions?
Yes! To youth cheerleaders, competition is their time to shine. AYFC is committed to creating a positive competitive environment, where your cheerleaders can highlight and showcase their skills. League competition is usually held in October.
What do I need to know about football equipment?
Parents will need to buy the following: football cleats with plastic spikes, a cup, a football girdle, and extra mouthpieces. Bellingham AYFC issues the following during the conditioning week: helmet with chin strap, shoulder pads, pants, and mouthpiece. Game jerseys are distributed at Punt, Pass, and Kick (PPK) in August. If you plan on using your own helmet or shoulder pads, they must be approved by the equipment manager during conditioning week.
What do I need to know about supplies for my cheerleader?
Parents will need to buy the following through Bellingham AYFC: sneakers, bows, crop tops and boy shorts. We supply the uniform and warm-up jackets. Parents will also need to buy black leggings for cold game days. At practices, cheerleaders are asked to wear red, black or white. Individual teams can mix it up with occasional theme nights (think pink or rock).
What are fundraising requirements?
Each child is asked to raise a minimum of $35 ($50 family max) at our PPK. Other fundraising opportunities will arise throughout the season.
What can parents do to help?
All parents will be required to volunteer at least twice for approximately three total hours during the season. Parents can volunteer for MPR duty, concession stand and sideline help during the home games. These efforts will be coordinated through the the team parents once the season begins. Football coaches are always looking for good photographers to film their games. If this is a hobby of yours, and you have the appropriate equipment, see the head coach.
All cheer parents will be required to volunteer at the concession stand during home games. Sometime during August, team parents will distribute a concession schedule. If you are unable to make your schedule time you must coordinate with the team parent.
Is there still an Opt out option?
No. $35 is collected at registration from all program participants but is refunded in cash on the day that you volunteer (in the concession stand or on the fields).
What if I want to volunteer to coach?
If you would like to be a coach for any of our teams, please contact Dan Haddad for football and Tracey Elliott for cheerleading via firstname.lastname@example.org.
When are board meetings held?
In general, board meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 at the VFW hall. During the football they are usually held after practice at the concession stand. They are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. All board meetings are posted on our Facebook page.
Are all board members and coaches required to go through a CORI review?
Yes. Each year, all of our volunteers are required to submit to a review by the Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB) - the state agency authorized to provide CORI.
How do I communicate any concerns I may have with coaches?
We ask that you speak with the head coach first. However, if your issue is not resolved, then see the Vice Presidents or Cheer Coordinator. If your issue cannot be still cannot resolved, then the Vice Presidents and/or Cheer Coordinator may bring it to the President and/or the Board of Directors. Email us at email@example.com