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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Seth Hunt on Soccer, February 14

The 2013 season is feeling more and more real now that I have my Timbers season ticket card in my hands. And as I think about the season on the field I also think about what Timbers fans are going to do off the field.

The 107 Independent Supporters Trust (107ist) is the organization behind the Timbers Army, and I have been a member since it started in 2010. Members of 107ist design, create, and put up the banners you see in the stands, from the small ones hanging on the walls to giant displays like the one before the Seattle game last year. I'm proud to be part of an organization that has made the Timbers Army such a fantastic supporters group. 

In my view, it's just as important, and makes me just as proud, to be part of an organization that does so much good for the community. The resources 107ist has enable it to take part in many charitable and community service projects. Already this year 107ist volunteers have gone to a Portland school once a week to help in the library. I've done it a few times because I had good libraries when I was growing up and I want to give back and help more children have a useful library like I did. 

I also went out on a Saturday morning recently with Friends Of Trees. One of my good Timbers Army friends started the tradition of Timbers fans coming out to help when Friends Of Trees was planting in his neighborhood about five years ago. I look forward to this every year because it's really a pretty easy way of making the city better. When you have a group of us who have experience doing this by now, the work goes quickly and easily. At the end of it, you can see what you've done: there's a new tree, that's good for the environment and makes the neighborhood look nicer. There's also the great lunch buffet back at the Friends Of Trees office, which is a nice bonus. 

That's just the start of what 107ist plans to do this year. We're going to be improving soccer fields at city parks again (with the help of an organization called Operation Pitch Invasion) so there's places for kids to play. There's the scholarship fund we have for promising young players who are good enough to play on elite teams but need financial help. We volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank. We did a great deal of work helping to build Harper's Playground, a park that children can use whether they're healthy or have mobility problems. This is all just the areas I can remember.

I hope in reading this you'll see the reach of 107ist extends far beyond just the stadium on game days. We believe that we can harness the time, ability, and resources of our membership to improve the community we live in. We have an Army behind us, so there's not a lot we can't do. 

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