Teamwork makes the dream work

Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor
Photo courtesy of Sally Hoover
From left, Dave Christiansen, Cole Wehri, Savannah Carr, Yestin Davis and Dylan McFarlin are hard at work hauling in a load as Newcastle High School student-athletes help the Newcastle Police Department relocate to their new offices Friday.

Three Dogie sports teams took the phrase teamwork makes the dream work to a whole new level last Friday as boys and girls soccer, track and Dogie Football got together to help the Newcastle Police Department move from their previous location to their new digs just up the street. 

 Head football coach Matt Conzelman has, for years now, had his team help out the community with doing jobs that need done, whether it’s shoveling walks in the winter or cleaning up yards in the spring, summer or fall or helping people who need it move.

“A lot of people would call the school looking for help doing odd jobs, so we decided to use those as fundraising opportunities,” Conzelman explained. “The football team has probably done about eight different moving jobs but this was the first time we’ve done it for a “business”. The funds they earn go to the players to help pay for camps and other expenses relating to their sport.” 

Recently, when the PD was looking to move, Mayor Pam Gualtieri reached out to Conzelman to see if he could round up some athletes to make that move happen. Not only did it end up being a fundraising opportunity for the athletes who volunteered to help, it was also an opportunity to build relationships between the students, the school, the PD and the community.

“After Pam got a hold of me and we talked over the situation, I reached out to police chief Chuck Bowles to see what it entailed,” Conzelman explained. “I went down to take a look at everything, and found out that they were only moving about 50 yards to a different building so I figured it was something we could help them with.”

The department could have hired a moving company, but Gualtieri wanted to reach out to see if that money could go toward local athletes rather than a moving company. Conzelman jokingly told her that as long as there were no pianos, NHS athletes could definitely lend a hand. 

Due to conflicting obligations on Friday, there were several members of the football team who were unavailable to help, so Conzelman opened up the opportunity to the spring sports as well. About 15-20 athletes from boys and girls soccer, track and football heeded the call to help out, and for soccer the move did double duty as a substitute for practice. 

The crew from NHS got to work at 1:30 last Friday and worked until 3:30 in the cold and blustery weather conditions. It’s true that many hands make light work, because in that time, they were able to move three trailer loads of file cabinets, desks, and boxes of office materials to the new location. Though there still remains about one trailer load that needs to be moved, the operation was put on hold with plans to finish up in the near future.

It was a job well done and participants in both the police department and the school were satisfied with the progress made, but the partnership brought about more than just the goal of relocating the department. It also provided the opportunity for connections to be made and relationships to be built.

“Having the students work alongside the police also may have helped to build relationships in addition to helping get a job done,” Conzelman grinned. “It helps to build camaraderie because everyone is working toward a goal. Being out in public helps put a face with a name, so the next Friday night, or track meet, or soccer game, now you know a player or two which gets them more vested in the sporting programs.”

“It also helps to build relationships between the different sports programs because they all had to work together,” he continued.  “If the timing is right and everything works out, we may be available for other businesses to move as well!”

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