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Winter: Registrations

When people enter the local Little League facility or meeting hall to sign up, they should notice a large map on the wall. The map should show the actual approved boundaries of the league, so parents can identify their residence on the map.

The first step is for the parent to produce identification showing that their legal residence is within the boundaries on the map. The residency proofs required are noted in the “General Information” section near the front of the current edition of the Rules and Regulations.

If the parent lives outside the league boundaries, the local Little League personnel should show them the Regulations pertaining to residence. Also, they should have a list of neighboring leagues on hand to direct the parent to the correct league.

If the parents do not live in any chartered Little League’s boundaries, they are directed to the District Administrator so that a league can be established where they reside, or so the boundaries of an existing league might be expanded.

Remember, no Little League can accept any player of any age into any division if the player does not legally reside in the league boundaries, or does not qualify for an exception under Regulations II (d) or IV (h.), or through a written waiver from the Charter Committee at Little League International in South Williamsport, Pa.

This applies whether the child is a five-year old Tee Ball candidate or a fire-balling 12-year old left-hander. Improper policies of, or mistakes made by, any previous year’s boards of directors do not apply and must be corrected immediately.

The next step is establishing the league age for the child. If an acceptable birth certificate is not available, the local Little League should direct the parent to obtain one from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state in which the child was born. If still not available, follow the procedure on the policy statement regarding birth documents to obtain a Statement in Lieu of Birth Certificate — available from your DA and online, at: www.LittleLeague.org.

A notarized copy of a birth certificate is not acceptable. A Notary Public does NOT have authority to verify the authenticity of documents from the Bureau of Vital Statistics. He or she only has authority to authenticate signatures.

The parent should fill out a Registration Form, copied from the form provided in annual league supplies by Little League, and available online, at: www.LittleLeague.org.

Certain information on the form is essential. At this time, the player/parents must declare if the candidate intends to play baseball or softball. (Regulation IV c.)

They should also fill out the Medical Release Form supplied by Little League. It’s a good idea for the local Little League to have a Notary on hand to notarize this form.

Part of a well-run Little League’s registration form gives the league a profile of the parents. This determines if the parents are willing to help umpire, manage, coach, work in concession stand, do field work, carpentry, plumbing, computers, give legal advice, etc. Such information can be very useful later in the season, and is a great way to bring in new volunteers.

The next step is to explain the nature of Little League Insurance. Extensive information on Little League Insurance is available, at: www.LittleLeague.org.

The local Little League may also ask parents to complete a Little League Volunteer Application and provide a copy of a government-issued photo ID, which is required of all volunteers who may provide regular service to the league, or may have repetitive access to players and teams. Anyone who acts as a manager or coach, even for a day, must complete one of these forms and must pass the background check.

Then, the Tryout/Draft System is explained to the Little League parent. A copy of the system is also given to the parent, all but eliminating the possibility of confusion over the system. (Operating Manual - Draft.)

Next, the budget for the previous year is explained to the parent, even if he or she was not involved in the league. The parent has a right to know where the money was spent, and often has no idea how much it costs to operate a Little League for an entire year. As most league officers know, there are many hidden costs (utilities, insurance, charter fees, equipment, rent/mortgage, etc.), while the average parent may only see certain highly-visible items as the major expenses.

Finally, the league should explain the budget for the coming season: where the league expects the funds to come from — and in what percentage — based on previous experience (fundraisers, sponsorships, game collections, registration fees, concession income, etc.). If the parent knows he or she is getting a good value for his/her dollar, they will be willing to pay a reasonable fee.

If the league feels it necessary to charge a registration fee, it may do so. Remember, payment of a fee must not be a prerequisite for participation. (Regulation XIII.)

The Little League explains that in order to meet the budget for the coming season, the parent should donate a specific amount as a participation fee. The league explains that an amount above that figure will help to meet any emergency expenditure that may arise. Expecting parents to shoulder a large percentage of the financial responsibility at this time will turn people away and cause resentment. Nearly all will pay their fair share if they know they’re getting a good value.

A database of all of these Operations Tips can be found here:
http://www.littleleague.org/leagueofficers/Tips_Successful_League/2010-2011.htm

Next Article: Appointments of Managers, Coaches, and Umpires