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The YMCA of Greater Kansas City to Charter With Little League Baseball and Softball

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Jan. 24, 2006) – The YMCA of Greater Kansas City, Mo., announced recently that starting with the 2006 season their program will charter teams with Little League Baseball and Softball.

“On behalf of the Little League International board of directors and our staff, I welcome Kansas City to the Little League family,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “As an organization, we commend the YMCA of Greater Kansas City for recognizing and appreciating how the benefits and ideals of the Little League program can serve the young people in one of the country’s greatest baseball towns.”

This affiliation marks the first time that the Little League program will have established chartered leagues in Kansas City, and lays the foundation for growth and expansion of the program under the auspices of the YMCA.

“We like Little League because it has the same philosophy as the YMCA,” Michelle Ford, vice president of sports development for YMCA of Greater Kansas City, said. “With Little League, winning and losing is in the proper perspective, while building our kids to be future leaders is the most important thing.”

In its first year of Little League affiliation, Kansas City will be served by three separate Little League programs - The Paul Henson YMCA in Prairie Village, Kan.; The Red Bridge YMCA on the South side of the city; and the Clay-Platte, Independence, Blue Springs and Richard C. Green YMCAs which will combine to form the East YMCA Little League.

“All of us involved in bringing Little League to Kansas City are excited,” Ms. Ford said. “We are looking at this as a long-term partnership.”

Missouri had nearly 16,500 players, ages 5 to 18, playing on more than 850 Little League Baseball teams and 225 Little League Softball teams during the 2005 season. The state of Missouri is part of the Little League Central Region, headquartered in Indianapolis. The Central Region also is the administrative headquarters for Little League programs in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The worldwide Little League program is headquartered at Little League International in Williamsport, Pa.

The YMCA, founded in London, England, in 1844, is one of the largest social service organizations in the world, responding to the diverse needs of individuals in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

There are more than 2,400 YMCAs in the United States. The YMCA, which has its world headquarters based in Chicago, currently serves more than 40 million youth and families worldwide.

“Playing Little League has become a staple of childhood for millions of children around the world, and we trust this affiliation will create a wonderful experience for the children and adult volunteers of these leagues,” Mr. Keener said.

Anyone interested in registering a player in one of these Little League programs, or donating time as a league volunteer is asked to call the YMCAs of Greater Kansas City at: 816-561-9622; or log on to: www.ymca-kc.org.

For more information on Little League coming to Kansas City, contact Michelle Ford, YMCA of Greater Kansas City Vice President of Youth Sports, at: 816-561-9622.

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.