Pieces of Our Past: March Week 1
Since the 60’s, Little League Camp Has Been a Popular Summer Destination for Children
Little League was proud to offer its first instructional baseball summer camp in 1962. It was held at the Little League International complex in Williamsport, Pa.
The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, located on the same complex, has a brochure promoting the 1967 Williamsport summer camp on display in its Founder’s Room. The museum also has photographs of participants and camp records.
The camp experience is described in this passage from a promotional letter that Little Leaguers of the day received …
“Under the watchful eyes of experienced instructors, all boys participate in five hours of baseball every day. Campers receive individual instruction in baseball skills each morning and every afternoon they get a chance to put these newly-found skills to the test in ball games with other campers.”
In 1975, campers attending one of the two-week sessions in Lisle, Ill., had the opportunity to learn under guest instructors Ernie Banks, a former Chicago Cub star, and Gordon Gillispie, coach of the Lewis University’s 1974 National Collegiate Championship Baseball team. Both men were members of the Medalist Hall of Fame Sports Camp staff.
Over the years, camps have been held in a variety of locations, including, Williamsport, Lisle, San Bernadino, Calif., Waco, Texas, St. Petersburg, Fla., Bristol, Conn., Asheville, N.C., and Hillsgove, Pa. Baseball instruction was offered by leading coaches from area colleges and universities, and participants also enjoyed well-rounded recreational activities including swimming, volleyball, badminton and tennis, depending on location.
Summer camp participants used to complete a written test and undergo and evaluation of their baseball skills to determine areas in need of improvement.
Some camps were designed for boys between the ages of 10 and 12, while others accepted players who were up to 14 years old.
This year, Little League summer camps will be offered at Williamsport, Hillsgrove and Bristol. More information on 2009 Little League Summer Camp can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/Learn_More/About_Our_Organization/Baseball_Camps.htm
Since 1962, summer camp has evolved, but its mission remains to provide the ideal setting for Little Leaguers to improve fundamentals and develop new skills. Green Acres, which is located in Hillsgrove, 31 miles north of Williamsport, opened in 1973. It is touted as a picturesque place for youth who wish to experience a rustic setting.
To help make Little League Summer Camp more affordable, Little League offers the Robert H. Stirrat Baseball Camp Scholarship. Named in memory of Mr. Stirrat, who was a long-time public relations director of Little League Baseball, Incorporated, the scholarship includes round-trip transportation and tuition costs to the closest Little League Baseball Camp to the winner of an essay contest.
The scholarship tradition continues today and is open to boys and girls attending camps at Williamsport, Hillsgrove or Bristol.
The Museum is located at 525 Route 15 Highway, just south of Williamsport, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and by group appointment from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Its summer season begins after Memorial Day and the Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through June 31. From July 1 through Labor Day, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The facility is accessible to the disabled.
Rates are $5 for adults; $3 for those 62 and older; $1.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 13. There is no fee for children 4 or younger. Group rates and tours are available. The Museum also offers birthday parties and after-hours facility rentals.
The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.
For more information, call the museum at (570) 326-3607; or visit http://www.LittleLeague.org/Learn_More/museum.htm.