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Auburn Little League Says Thanks For the Grant to Keep their New Softball Program Growing

Volume 3 | Issue 10 | November 2015 | Archive
Auburn Little League Says Thanks For the Grant to Keep their New Softball Program Growing
The Auburn Little League in Auburn, Mass., has been around for more than five decades. Over the course of that half-century of play, the league has been strong enough to offer many divisions, including Tee Ball, Coach Pitch, Minor, Major, Intermediate (50/70), Junior, and Senior. In fact, the league has consistently grown for the last five years. There was one missing division, however, that so many people wanted, but never was able to get off the ground – softball. For the 2015 season, that changed in a big way thanks to the new Little League® Grow the Game Grant Program.

For years, Auburn Little League tried to partner with a local Little League Softball® program to offer the sport to more girls, but nothing worked out, so local league officials decided to do it on their own. They formed their program, opened signups, and were hoping to get 40 girls registered – they got 150!

The softball numbers were so solid, the league was able to have two teams in the Major Division, four Minor Division squads, four Coach Pitch teams, and 40 girls in Tee Ball.

“Families were asking for Little League Softball for so long, and I’m so proud of what we were able to do,” said Dena Daoust, Auburn Little League President. “We just wanted to teach the game to as many kids as possible, and let them have fun. We did that for the girls. It was a great first season.”

While the inaugural season was successful, there was some cause for concern. The league worried about a sophomore slump, a drop-off in the second year. They wanted to grow the softball program even more, and improve on some of the things they felt were important to the girls. That’s when they found out about the Grow the Game Grant Program.

“The first year, the girls wore tie-dye shirts,” said Ms. Daoust. “They were cute, but we wanted to provide the girls with what the boys had – real uniforms. And, we wanted better equipment.”

In March, Ms. Daoust read an email sent to her from Little League about the Grant Program. She downloaded the application, filled it out, and sent it to Little League International. In just a few short months, the league was awarded a $10,000 softball grant.

“We were thrilled,” said Ms. Daoust. “We knew we were going to be able to continue growing the softball program.”

The grant money will be used to fix the softball field, purchase new uniforms, provide free softball clinics to players, purchase new banners, build a better pitching circle, and buy new equipment like helmets for all softball players.

In this season of giving thanks, Ms. Daoust and the Auburn Little League families are extremely grateful for this opportunity in their community.

“I am so thankful for our Grow the Game Grant because of what it provides the girls, which is to play and love the game the same way the boys do,” said Ms. Daoust. “The girls will have so much fun for years to come.”

In June, Little League ® Baseball and Softball announced a $4 million plan to help local Little League programs grow the game in their communities by providing financial assistance to these programs to ensure that all children have the opportunity to have a meaningful Little League experience. The new initiative is called Grow the Game. The cornerstone of this initiative is the Little League Grow the Game Grant Program. With different grants earmarked for general local league improvement and to help leagues expand or establish Little League Softball, Little League Challenger Division®, and Little League Urban Initiative programs, Little League is allocating more than $1.8 million for 7,000 local Little League programs in more than 80 countries to use to grow the game. This includes a $500,000 Disaster Relief Fund, which will be dedicated to assisting local leagues that have been impacted by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.
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The Parent Connection - November 2015 - Archive