It was like a basketball version of Cyber Monday
When the Winthrop girls’ basketball team needed to choose new jerseys, coach Lonney Steeves put the choices on the team’s Facebook page. The girls were given the chance to look over the various uniforms.
“They got to choose,” Steeves said. “When they pulled them out of the box, they knew what they were getting. That was really kind of neat. They were excited because they had a hand in this.”
“It’s a lot easier than calling a meeting during school and having people get out of class to come down,” senior Shauna Carlson said. “We can check it out at a convenient time. We could give your input under which one you wanted and say what you liked and didn’t like.”
Using social media didn’t just provide the girls an opportunity to see the jersey, it also empowered them to be invested in the program and feel part of a larger group.
“It allows them to feel some ownership in a program as we turn it around,” Steeves said. “So to have them have some input and some communication with the program is really nice.”
Steeves started using social media for the Youth in Government program. After having a Facebook page for that and seeing how kids interacted there as well as on the Winthrop field hockey team’s page, he decided to have a page for both the Winthrop golf team and the girls’ basketball squad.
“I use it more as a communication tool,” Steeves said. "But it is really nice to be able to share that information to kids and parents. Kids might forget to tell their parents of a change, but parents will be able to get the information first hand.”
Steeves also used a program called Team on Three. It allows him to put schedules, practice plans, announcements and the team’s playbook online for the team to use. It also sends out a text and email to those who sign in case of an announcement. Last year, the Ramblers had several of scheduling changes, some at the last minute.
“That Team on Three was how I kept parents updated all the time,” Steeves said. “There was one night I updated it three different times.”
Having a team Facebook page has also allowed alumni to keep in touch and stay involved in the program.
“They’re asking how we’re doing and that’s keeping the community still involved in the program,” Steeves said.