On May 27, the Salvation Army Echelon Syracuse Chapter took a trip to see the Syracuse Mets, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, take on the Louisville Bats.
“We’ve been working with the Syracuse Mets for a long time, and we have a great relationship with them,” says Andrew Sabbaghzadeh, director of development for the Salvation Army in Syracuse. “We’ve celebrated Christmas in July with them, and even have had our kettles at some of their games.”
Echelon Chapters are the Salvation Army’s outreach to young professionals that want to be part of The Salvation Army through volunteer opportunities, fundraising, and networking opportunities. While most Echelon Syracuse events have welcomed around 60 to 70 members, the Syracuse Mets game was attended by over 120 Echelon members and their families, making it Echelon Syracuse’s biggest event to date.
“Like other Echelon chapters, we have young professionals who want to be part of the Army’s mission. But we’ve also extended Echelon to young parents who looking to volunteer, make friends, and network,” says Andrew. “They can bring their kids to events like these and meet families like theirs.”
From the Party Deck on right field, the Echelon members watched the game and enjoyed ballpark treats like hot dogs and burgers. There were also raffles to win prizes such as gym memberships, dinners, and vacations. The Echelon chapter was even invited by the Mets to throw the ceremonial first pitch.
Echelon Syracuse, currently with 75 members, is the first established Echelon chapter in the Salvation Army Eastern Territory. Andrew says that events and membership had been booming before COVID-19, but they took a big hit not being able to host events to gather and socialize.
“It’s been like a roller coaster, but now we’re back and doing really well,” says Andrew. “We have gatherings like this lined up in the future, such as a going to see a Luke Bryan concert.”
Andrew says that being part of Echelon is the first introduction that many members have to the Salvation Army. While socializing, they learn about The Salvation Army, and are open to seeing how they can be part of future volunteer opportunities.
“Members of Echelon have even gone on to serve on our boards,” says Andrew.
For more information on the Salvation Army’s Echelon Chapters, please visit https://salvationarmyechelon.org/echelon.