The Shootout for Soldiers, a 24-hour lacrosse game benefiting wounded American military members that has raised more than $250,000 since its inception, returns to McDonogh on June 19 and 20.
Originally started by a group of high school students attending Boys’ Latin, the effort has grown each year, with more than 2,000 participants and 10,500 attendees in the 2013 charitable event. Organizers are also expanding the event to Long Island, N.Y., on July 24 and 25, representing the first expansion leg in a program anticipated to spread throughout the country.
People interested in participating in the 2014 event can register as a team or as an individual by visiting ShootoutForSoldiers.com. The games are open to both male and female participants, with no age restrictions. Separate categories are also available for the opening veterans game at each location and a wheelchair lacrosse game in the Baltimore area only. The cost to participate per individual is $20.
“The overwhelming response to the inaugural event both fundraising and attendancewise encouraged our team to continue to develop the event for year two,” said Tyler Steinhardt, the founder and director of the Shootout for Soldiers. “With a full year to plan, organize and promote, we were able to double the number of players, elevate our fundraising by 50 percent and incorporate a number of different elements, including the addition of women’s teams.”
Steinhardt is taking a leave of absence from his studies at American University to concentrate his full-time efforts into expanding and developing the Shootout for Soldiers. Among the initial benefits of this was adding three organizations as partners -- the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund, Semper Fi Fund and Gary Sinise Foundation -- to join the Wounded Warrior Project. The common mission of all four organizations is to provide financial, physical and emotional support or services to individuals who have dedicated their lives to the U.S. military.
“We are extremely proud that, with an all-volunteer team, Shootout for Soldiers has spent less than 1 percent of the total fundraising dollars on expenses to organize and produce the games,” Steinhardt said.
Both the Baltimore event, held at McDonogh in Owings Mills, and the Long Island event, held at the Field of Dreams Park in Massapequa, start at 9 a.m. and end 24 hours later. The score is kept continuously throughout the event between the two teams, Stars and Stripes; in 2013, Stars won 349-336.
For the second straight year, Major Lacrosse League star Paul Rabil (Johns Hopkins) will lead a game featuring a host of other MLL players at 7 p.m. New additions to the Baltimore event this year include a demonstration by the Army Golden Knights parachute team when the games start at 9 a.m. and the display of the MLL champion Chesapeake Bayhawks' Steinfield Trophy throughout the day.
“Our service members sacrifice so much for our country, and my team and I are honored to be able to give back in some way,” Steinhardt said. “We’re incredibly grateful for all of the support that the local community has shown for the event, and we’re excited to continue to expand and develop the Shootout for Soldiers.”
For more information, contact Steinhardt at firstname.lastname@example.org.