Recruiting Volunteer Umpires Is A Year-Round Proposition
One of the many responsibilities of the local league’s Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) is to recruit volunteer umpires for the current Little League® season.
Every year, the local league will lose some of their umpires through normal attrition. Now is the time to start the process of identifying, recruiting and training new umpires for your Little League.
As a league UIC, it is imperative that you are involved in the registration process of your league. While many registrations are completed on-line, at some point, the parents need to attend a registration day, with the local league personnel, to prove eligibility for their child. The league UIC is strongly encouraged to be a part of that registration day to open the door for recruitment.
The league UIC should be in full uniform and have a table where parents are welcomed to stop and complete a volunteer application form indicating how they can be a participating member and help the league. At that time, the UIC can explain why it is so important to have a volunteer umpire program. He/she can explain how they will be trained and mentored to help them through the process.
Here are several suggested methods for recruiting volunteer umpires:
- Find people who love the game or show strong interest
- Recruit at service clubs or fraternal organizations
- Use military personnel if available in your area
- Use Public Service Announcements to advertise on local TV and radio stations
- Contact youth groups and civic organizations
- Convert paid umpires by telling them about postseason assignments
- Contact local police and fire department personnel
- Develop a Junior Umpire Program
- Have each team provide an umpire for their games (have an experienced umpire there to mentor and answer questions)
- Use managers, coaches and former managers and coaches
Advertising in the local papers, websites and placing fliers at the local league is also a great way to solicit new volunteers. The UIC can also recruit at league meetings, tryouts and practices.
The best recruitment practice is to be proactive. Nurture the relationship between local leagues and districts. Making sure your fellow volunteers are appreciated starts with training, which breeds confidence. Remember, most umpires started their vocation out of a sense of duty, or chose to stay connected to Little League through umpiring after their own children graduated from the program.
Without umpires there are no official games. Your service is invaluable to our program and is primary to maintaining, and hopefully, growing the ranks of those who choose to work between the lines. For this commitment to the local leagues, its children and families, we humbly say. “Thank you.”