By Brian Bateman
In less than two months, Jewish teens will be taking shots on goal, adding and-ones to layups, anchoring relays and smashing winners down the baseline.
Dallas’ second Maccabi Games will be here soon.
And just like those track speedsters turning the final corner in the 4×400, those preparing to host this year’s event are in the home stretch.
“We’re madly recruiting more volunteers,” said Kerri Aikin, director of the Dallas Maccabi Games. “It’s picking up a little bit.”
The JCC has roughly 70 percent of the volunteers needed for the annual junior Jewish Olympic games. That’s up from 30 percent in March, but also 300 short of the 1,000 needed.
Aikin hopes that with school over for the summer and people able to plan their schedules, more volunteers will come in soon.
“Without volunteers, there won’t be anyone at the events,” she said.
It’s especially important for a quick fill because volunteer orientation begins July 12.
More than 200 families have registered to host athletes, but the JCC needs 100 more for delegations from as far away as Australia.
Host families aren’t required to have a kosher home, but must be Jewish. Each home will have at least two athletes, who need beds or air mattresses, and one driver from each home must be at least 21.
Orientation for host families begins July 9.
Team Dallas has nearly all its squads filled. Now it’s time for them to start practice.
“We’re in final prep mode, hitting the hardwood, or the pool,” Dallas JCC athletic director Matt Rowland said.
Team Dallas has 251 athletes ready to play, including seven from Fort Worth.
Four other athletes — two from Memphis and two from Orlando — will play for Dallas since their home cities couldn’t field a travel group.
It’s a perk of being the host city, Rowland said.
While all team sports are closed for enrollment, Rowland said Team Dallas can accommodate individual-sport athletes looking to participate, provided they take the initiative to contact the JCC.
Talk and interest online has picked up in recent weeks, partly due to the JCC’s social media push.
Did-you-know facts, stories from past Games, features on past athletes and the “We are Hosting” campaign for host families have drummed support on Facebook (dallasmaccabi), Instagram
(@dallasmaccabi) and Twitter
“We think it’s working pretty good,” Aikin said. “The younger (the audience), the more successful it has been.”
Sponsorships are available for every level, from $1,000 to $250,000-plus.
Sponsors must hurry if they want to see their ad in print media. The deadline is June 15.
Contact Randi Steinhart (214-239-7124) for more information.
Social media: @dallasmaccabi (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
Host families: dallasmaccabi.org/host