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Inaugural Jamboree Comes to an End

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (May 31, 2004) – Little League International’s first Urban Initiative Jamboree came to an end today as eight teams began the journey home after a weekend of fun, baseball and friendship.

Regular season Little League Baseball teams from New York City, Newark and Trenton, N.J, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Richmond, Va., and Worcester, Mass., traveled to Williamsport for the inaugural Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree on Friday and each team played six games of four innings each over the next two days.

The Little League Urban Initiative is a vigorous program to provide access to the benefits of the Little League program to boys and girls within urban communities.

After two days, bonds of respect, understanding and appreciation were forged as the players, coaches, families and volunteers shared their experiences and what it meant to have such a unique opportunity.

“It’s been great,” said North Trenton Little League manager Gaither Beard. “The boys were saying, ‘We wish we could stay another week.’”

Through the collaborative support of Little League Baseball and a $250,000 grant provided by Major League Baseball, which in part was used to fund the Jamboree, the eight were afforded the chance to play on the same fields as the teams that compete each August for the title of Little League World Series champion.

Bruce Goodman came to Williamsport to support his son, Christopher Nelson and the Baltimore Elite Giants of the North Trenton Little League. He said, “For the first trip around, I think the Urban Initiative Jamboree has been pretty successful and it’s been and excellent learning experience for the children.”

Several events were held in conjunction with the Jamboree, including the presentation of MLB’s “Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In life” educational program and the MLB Pitch, Hit and Run competition. On Friday night, former Major League Baseball all-star and current ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst, Harold Reynolds, greeted the Jamboree’s participants.

Howard Greenfield, an umpire from the Satchel Paige Little League in Washington said, “The attitudes were great and the games really competitive. I think it has been a thrill for the kids to be here.”

The Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree consisted of games and instruction and, although scores were kept in the games, no champion was declared.

Little League International paid the costs for transporting the eight teams, plus dozens of adult volunteers and parents. Housing for the three nights, plus meals, was provided for the teams in the Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove, where Little League Baseball World Series teams live for two weeks each August.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.

Click here for more information on the Little League Urban Initiative.