The annual McDonald's Texas Invitational
Basketball Tournament is one of the premier high school basketball
tournaments in the nation featuring the most talented teams-and the
event wouldn't see the success it has if it weren't for the
dedication and efforts of its volunteers.
"The volunteers are the heartbeat of this
tournament," said tournament chairman Ben Meador. "It is so exciting
to see people year after year who are so willing to do whatever it
takes to make this event a success. We have some of the finest
people in the world living in our community. They care and are so
generous in committing their time and talent to make this event one
of the best in the country."
The tournament hosts 48-boys' teams and
32-girls' teams from across the state and is sponsored in large part
by McDonald's, the City of Pasadena and the Pasadena Chamber of
Commerce. The tournament serves as the primary fundraiser for the
Pasadena ISD Education Foundation, which provides $100,000 in grants
every year to help fund innovative educational programs districtwide
that can not be afforded through regular operating budgets. Last
year, the tournament made a record $100,000 donation to the
Every year, the tournament draws in more than
300 volunteers, and tournament volunteer committee members are
starting their search for volunteers for this year's event, which
will be held Nov. 20-22.
"Volunteers play a critical role in this
tournament," said the tournament's volunteer chairwoman Darla
Haygood. "By supporting this tournament, these volunteers have made
a significant difference in the lives of our children."
Some volunteer opportunities available for
those interested in participating in the tournament are selling
T-shirts and tickets to students and adults at each of the
tournament's eight venues. Volunteers are also needed to host the
hospitality rooms at each venue offering refreshments and food for
the coaches and tournament officials. Most volunteers work an
average of two to four hours when they are available.
"Without the support of our volunteers, we
would not be able to host this tournament," said Haygood. "We
encourage community members and Pasadena ISD employees to get
involved because we are giving back to our community by enriching
the lives of our children. They are our future, and as community
members, we need to pave the way for our future."
Hosting a tournament team is another way for
individuals to get involved in the tournament. Team hosts serve as
liaisons for their teams for the length of the tournament and are
responsible for meeting their team, handing out "goodie bags"
(provided) to each participant, giving directions to gym locations
and suggesting restaurants.
"Team hosts serve as ambassadors for not only
the district, but the city," said team host chairs Debi and Jerry
Krampen. "It is a great way for them to meet some of the finest
athletes and coaches in the state, and they also get to watch some
awesome basketball. Team hosts are a unique part of this tournament
because it's their job to make the teams feel welcome and serve as
'fans' for the participating teams."
Volunteers are directed by team captains who
oversee them at each venue to ensure adequate coverage and volunteer
schedules are flexible. Two volunteer training sessions are also
provided at Pasadena Memorial High School two weeks prior to the
tournament so that each volunteer is informed of their duties.
With more than 30,000 in attendance over the
three-day tournament, Meador said this event provides a great
opportunity for community members to help showcase the premier City
of Pasadena and its citizens.
"We want all of the coaches, teams and fans
attending the games to see that the tournament is well organized and
all details are handled so that everything runs smoothly," said
Meador. "Our volunteers handle their duties in such a manner that
all visitors who come to the tournament leave with a very positive
impression of our city, our schools and our citizens. That is
something that advertising dollars can't buy."
For information on volunteering, please contact
Haygood at 713-594-2305. To become a team host, call Debi or Jerry
Krampen at 713-740-0046 or 713-740-0827. For more information on the
tournament or to fill out volunteer and host forms online, please