Sapling Initiative


9/19/20234 min read

Since our founding, we have always believed in the power of esports as a way to bring students from diverse backgrounds together through their common passion for gaming. Through our previous competitions, we have been able to welcome over 1,500 students from over 250 high schools and colleges into our competitions and have awarded over $6,000 in scholarships.

However, we acknowledge that our competitions don’t fully address the challenges faced by esports clubs across California. Starting a new club can seem overwhelming, and even existing ones often grapple with issues such as funding, leadership transitions, member retention, and a lack of support from school administrators.

We believe that through PEL, we can help tackle many of these problems through our newest program, The Sapling Initiative.

Starting today, all officially registered HS/College clubs and organizations across California are able to apply to become a Sapling within the Sapling Initiative and gain access to workshop sessions, resources, and direct club grants. Using these, students can grow and develop their skills to take their esports club to the next level even if they are just starting out or a veteran club.

Resources and Workshops
A Community of Growth
PEL Grants

Explore new ways to organize your club with our resource library and let your club expand through workshops and seminars run by industry professionals to teach current and upcoming leaders and support staff.

Through the Sapling Initiative, clubs gain access to a community of esports clubs, all working together to elevate the esports ecosystem. Get assistance assistance for competitive teams, event execution, and club management.

Direct funding provided to clubs for use in club enrichment and event/fundraising development. Starting with competition grants with future plans for non-competitive grants.

Sapling Initiative Benefits

We created the Sapling Initiative to support school clubs that grow, like saplings, into flourishing communities and develop student centric opportunities. Through working together, we hope to make it easier than ever for new clubs to form, and our existing clubs get the support they need to continue for years to come.

Signups open today! We hope to see your club joining as our newest sapling!

A full list of benefits and requirements for joining can be found below.

Registration Prerequisites
  • All SI clubs must be an officially registered club / organization within their school. There is no requirement to be within the athletics department or any other department within your school.

  • All Sapling Initiative clubs require a full leadership structure with at least these three roles: President, Treasurer, and Events Coordinator.

  • All clubs must have a working budget for the year and the ability to host events on campus.

Ongoing Requirements*

*All yearly requirements are tracked from the date which the club is approved to join the Sapling Initiative

Community Resource Contribution (1 per year):
  • All SI clubs will provide at least one item into our resource library per year to be shared with the SI community.

    • Items could include templates for graphics, player contracts, fundraising ideas, event planning guides, recruitment strategies.

    • Anything that can be useful for the wider ecosystem of new and fledgling clubs within scholastic esports.

    • Please contact us through ModMail to review your document before submitting it or if you have any questions about what resources qualifies.

In-Person Club Events (3 per year):
  • All SI clubs must run at least three in-person social/competitive events per year that are on campus or at a nearby location.

    • Example events include: social tournaments, competitive tournaments, watch parties, or show matches

    • Events that are purely fundraising (such as a bake sale) do not meet this requirement

PEL Sapling Initiative Updates (3 per year):
  • Three times a year, all SI clubs must share an update with the PEL team about their activities, achievements, and challenges for the quarter. All updates will be submitted through the “SI Club Update Form” which contains an easy to follow template and must include the following details:

    • Overview of the events since the last update, turnout, successes, challenges, and photos of the event if possible.

    • Your club’s fundraising progress from the previous report, if your goals were hit and how. Additionally setting a target for the next report to continue towards sustainability.

  • Updates are required on the 1st day of the following months: February, May, and November.

Benefits & Requirements

Application Benefits
  • Access to PEL Grants, starting with competition based grants.

  • Access to dedicated channels and forums to get help in organizing competitive teams, event help, and club management.

  • Access to a growing library of resources created by PEL and other member clubs.

  • Access to Sapling Initiative specific workshops focused on club growth and launching new programs.