Notes From A Hockey Mom: What is a Billet Family?
“The conversation usually starts with you excitedly sharing the news that your son will be playing hockey for Valencia Prep Academy next season. It generally takes a few minutes for your friends or family to realize that this team is located somewhere that would be too far to drive back and forth from daily, so that usually leads them to ask if you are moving or why they can’t just play hockey at home. Then it starts to get really hairy when you explain that your precious little child will be moving into a strange family’s home and living with them for the duration of a hockey season. Their eyes are usually pretty wide at this point, though they’re usually trying to hide it, and then the rapid fire round begins: “How much is that costing you?” “How are you paying for that?” “How do they find these people?” “What if it doesn’t work out?” and “Do they have background checks?”
Yep, it’s scary to think about, and it might not be all rainbows and unicorns, but it will be family, and it is so much more than an addition to the hockey resume.
Billeting seems like a small thing. Host families let athletes live in a spare bedroom in exchange for a nominal fee, that probably will not cover the expenses. On the surface, it sounds like a business transaction, but it is much more than that. You know all those other hockey parents from youth hockey? You spent countless hours with them at practices, you traveled with them to away games and tournaments, and maybe you grabbed a beverage together. You became friends, right? Billet families are like that on steroids.
You can find a couple definitions out there for billet families, and that might even be what you came here for, but the definition I use is love. Billet families are love for the game, love for your player, love for their team, just love in every sense of the word. When you send your son off to live with strangers to pursue his dream, they aren’t strangers for long.” – Michelle Anderson, April 9, 2020
VPA’s billet program will have fully vetted our host families by doing home checks, background checks and have had interviews to fully explain what the program will look like.
We will have frequent conversations with our athletes to ensure the housing situation is safe and caring, all the year through.