The Herald News
Kaylee Lachapelle, a junior at Diman Regional High School, is planning a free soccer cleat exchange for Aug. 20 as her Girl Scout Gold Award project.
SOMERSET — When it comes to children, feet often grow faster than soccer cleats wear out. Same for shin guards.
That leaves our world with plenty of functional soccer equipment looking for new owners. Since new equipment is rarely cheap, Kaylee Lachapelle, a junior at Diman Regional High School, figured she could save some families more than a few bucks and, possibly, even give a youngster, who might otherwise be left off the pitch, a chance to play soccer.
Lachapelle has organized the Cleat Exchange, set for Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the North Elementary School fields, home to the Swansea Somerset Youth Soccer League (SSYSL). Lachapelle is a Massachusetts-certified soccer referee, a goalkeeper at Diman, and an Ambassador (highest level) in the Girl Scouts USA.
The Cleat Exchange is her Girl Scouts Gold Award project. The Gold Award is the highest award to be earned in Girl Scouts USA.
“I know cleats can get expensive, especially the older you get,” said Lachapelle, who played in SSYSL for five years.
She said the idea of Cleat Exchange as a project came to her suddenly one day when she was refereeing.
She brought her cleats/shin guard exchange proposal before the SSYSL’s board of directors, and the board approved it unanimously. A SSYSL Facebook post added that Lachapelle has done her own fundraising and supply purchasing for storage and cleaning.
Lachapelle said SYSLL president David Hipolito has been a huge help. As her project advisor, Hipolito has, she said, helped her get Cleat Exchange word out through email, flyers and Facebook posts.
She was able to post the flyers during the indoor season games in Fall River. She’s had three collection sessions — one indoor and two at North Elementary — and now has a stock of approximately 50 pairs of gender-neutral shoes (sizes 3 through 7).
At the Aug. 20 Cleat Exchange, the shoes and shin guards are free for the taking. More donations are also welcomed.
Lachapelle, a member of Girl Scouts Troop 1042, said advice for proper shoe and shin guard fitting will be offered.
Number Diman Regional head girls’ soccer coach Flo Lima among those not surprised to hear of Lachapelle, a straight-A student, taking the initiative on a people-helping project.
“Great kid, great attitude and a good student in the electrical program,” Lima wrote in a text.