April 2020 -- The Edina Football Association (EFA) traces its roots back to 1962. For context, that’s just a year after the Minnesota Vikings played their first NFL home game, and five years before the very first Super Bowl! Over its nearly 60-year history, the EFA has touched hundreds of families – and oftentimes the same families over multiple generations.
Edina native and sports booster Dan Arom feels fortunate to consider himself a case in point. “I was part of both the Edina Football Association and Hornets Football throughout my own high school career,” he shared. In 2008 – a full 18 years after graduating from Edina High School and these programs – Arom found himself back on familiar stomping grounds, but now as an EFA coach for his second grader.
In the years since, Arom has guided the Association forward through terms as treasurer, vice president and president – and as a seemingly omnipresent committee member, to boot.
That’s likely to continue. Volunteering simply gets more rewarding the longer he does it. “Football families like EFA have a unique bond, because it is a ‘no-cut,’ inclusive program. Levels aren’t based on tryouts,” he explained. “For this reason, families get to know and share experiences with an array of people, hopefully all the way through their athlete’s high school years.”
Arom’s passion for community-through-sports is by no means restricted to football. He is also president of the Edina Athletic Boosters Club (EABC). Unlike most such nonprofits, which tend to be fairly narrow in their focus, EABC’s support extends to all 30-plus athletic programs recognized by the Minnesota State High School League. In total, some 1,600 students took part in these extracurricular opportunities during the 2018-19 school year.
Arom joined the EABC in 2015, as his children were entering high school. Much as with the EFA, though, joining was just a start. Arom has helped shepherd the Boosters through several memorable years.
In April 2019, for instance, the Boosters held their first annual gala fundraiser. Themed as “A Rockin’ Night Out,” this pilot event raised more than $75,000 from corporate sponsors and individual donors.
Looking back, Arom is equally proud of the EABC’s role in the expansion of Edina High School with a 70,000-square-foot activity center. Approved by voter referendum in 2015, the new facility offers students a three-court gym, fitness center, and many other sports amenities. Designing, approving and funding a project on this scale required a coalition of stakeholders – EABC not the least of them.
“We worked very diligently to understand the funding mechanisms and where we could make an impact,” Arom explained.
Ongoing passion projects include Sting Locker, a seasonal magazine spotlighting the achievements of Edina teams, coaches and alumni – both past and present. The first issue debuted in Fall 2018. In addition to moving each issue forward as an editor, Arom is a frequent contributor to Sting Locker. Features under his byline have run the gamut from track and field, to golf, to synchronized swimming.
When not at games or in planning meetings, Arom can often be found cooking and serving meals at area food shelf Loaves and Fishes. Odds are, if you see him volunteering there, it will be in the company of his “extended Edina sports family.”