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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2007 > Little League Urban Initiative, NPFSL’s Chicago Bandits Come Together to Grow Little League Softball

Little League Urban Initiative, NPFSL’s Chicago Bandits Come Together to Grow Little League Softball

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Feb. 20, 2007) – The Chicago Urban Initiative Little League Committee (CUILLC) and the Chicago Bandits of the National Professional Fastpitch Softball League have forged a partnership aimed at bringing the benefits of Little League Softball to the children of Chicago.

The Little League Urban Initiative is a component of Little League Baseball and Softball, based in Williamsport, Pa., and provides assistance packages for eligible leagues that aid the local volunteer group with equipment acquisition, capital improvement cash grants, field improvement and renovation, access to Little League education and training programs, advocacy, and networking.

In Chicago, five local Little Leagues have coordinated their efforts to form the CUILLC intent on providing awareness, education and opportunity through affiliation in the Little League Softball program. The Bandits franchise has also recognized the influence Little League can have in metropolitan neighborhoods through the Urban Initiative.

Cat Osterman, of the National Professional Fastpitch Softball League’s Rockford (Ill.) Thunder, and a Little League Softball graduate, speaks to several current youth league softball players during the league’s media day in Chicago. Ms. Osterman, a native of Houston, Texas, is also a member of USA Softball Olympic team.

The collaboration between CUILLC and the Bandits Advisory Board has yielded a working partnership that offers varied possibilities for growth in Little League Softball participation on the South side of Chicago and throughout the Chicagoland area.

“This partnership will benefit the local Little Leagues and the Bandits,” David James, director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. “Currently, there is no Little League Softball on the South side of Chicago, and Little League International anticipates that CUILLC, in conjunction with the Bandits, will get it started. There is great potential for this arrangement to create a feeder program to the middle school and high school programs for players age six and up.”

Among the immediate benefits for local leagues will be the coordination of fund raising projects designed to draw focus to their Little League programs, while creating interest among potential Little League softball players. Bandits officials will be in attendance at Little League Softball games throughout Chicago, and the Bandits will assist the leagues through their relationship with corporate sponsors. The committee also will receive 2,000 Bandits tickets for use throughout the season, and bus service to the games.

A Little League Softball Day has been tentatively scheduled for Aug. 15-18 during a home stand with the Rockford (Ill.) Thunder.

“Making the commitment to charter a Little League program is always a big step for any community whether in a rural setting or urban neighborhood,” Mr. James said. “The mission set forth by the Chicago Little League Urban Initiative Committee and the Chicago Bandits is to start registering players to participate in a Little League Softball program. Hopefully, the interest by players and volunteers alike will afford for the creation of individual leagues capable of expanding participation. It is our wish that Little League Softball can take root and become a cornerstone of communities and neighborhoods throughout Chicago.”

For more information, contact Gerald Clarke with the Chicago Bandits at 630-336-7164; or e-mail: chicagobanditsmedia@gmail.com. To contact the Chicago Urban Initiative Little League Committee, call Greg Hardin at: 773-785-4353; or e-mail Cylvia Gibbs at: queensheba69@sbcglobal.net.

 

The Chicago Urban Initiative Little League Committee (CUILLC) and the Chicago Bandits of the National Professional Fastpitch Softball League (NPFSL) have created a working partnership that offers varied possibilities for the growth of Little League Softball participation on the South side of Chicago. Pictured from left to right, are: Greg Hardin, Sr. (chairman of the greater Chicago Urban Initiative Committee); Cylvia Gibbs; and Portia Porter (co-secretaries of greater Chicago Urban Initiative Committee). The CUILLC participated recently in the Chicago Bandits media day events.