Little League Urban Initiative, Bank of America Dedicate Softball Field in Stockton, Calif.
The Little League Urban Initiative and Bank of America have collaborated on a field revitalization project for the Stockton (Calif.) Eastern Little League Softball program.
“Little League is pleased to complete this field renovation and is proud of the impact it will have on the community served by Stockton Eastern Little League,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Stockton Eastern Little League is a deserving recipient of this project, and we commend its leadership for making the decision to support and benefit its softball players.”
A dedication ceremony was held at the Stockton Eastern Little League softball field to unveil the improvements made by Landmark Construction Solutions and Granite Construction that include new fencing, grading and repositioning of the infield, renovation of the dugout area, and installation of a new backstop and warning track.
Our League is honored to have been chosen to have our softball field revitalized,” Amy Flores, President of Stockton Eastern Little League, said. “We needed an adequate field for all levels of softball. Additionally, we have been trying to get more girls from our area involved in Little League and this is a great first step. We’ve already doubled the amount of girls playing, and the community can see our dedication to girls’ softball. We also expect more parents will want to get involved as coaches.”
More than 250 children, ages 5-16, participate in Stockton Eastern Little League. The league includes teams in Tee Ball, as well as Minor, Major, Junior and Senior Baseball and Softball divisions.
“The really great thing about this project is it’s a softball field,” Dee Dee Martinez, California District 8 Administrator, said. “We’ve been struggling to maintain and build our Little League Softball program within the District. There is an interest in softball, but not having adequate fields is a big problem.
“This is the first field renovation project in Northern California,” Ms. Martinez said. “With 13 leagues in the District, all of them have some representation on the softball teams that will be using this field. We are already planning to hold Little League district softball tournament games there. We also are looking forward to hosting softball teams from our neighboring districts.”
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program with nearly 2.7 million participants and more than one million volunteers in all 50 U.S. states and scores of other countries. This season there are approximately 360,000 Little League Softball players, with more than 65,000 residing in California.
“The players and adult volunteers deserve a great deal of credit for creating an outstanding youth sports environment with the Little League program as its cornerstone,” Mr. Keener said. “We are equally appreciative of the support shown by our corporate partner, Bank of America, which has continued to nurture the growth of Little League in urban and metropolitan areas throughout the country.”
The cost of the renovations and improvements to the Stockton Eastern Little League field totaled approximately $83,000. The project’s grant money was provided through a donation to the Little League Urban Initiative by Bank of America.
A corporate partner of Little League Baseball and Softball, Bank of America has donated more than $700,000 since 2004 to the Little League Urban Initiative, helping to improve Little League fields nationwide, most recently including projects in Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Newark, N.J.
“Little League Baseball and Bank of America all share a strong commitment to growing the game of baseball within local communities,” Maurice Coleman, Northeast Community Development Executive for Bank of America, said. “As the official bank of Little League Baseball, we recognize the impact of the Urban Initiative, and the opportunities it creates for young people to experience baseball in metropolitan neighborhoods all across the country.”
This Memorial Day weekend, May 22-25, Little League International hosted the sixth annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree. Ten teams from Urban Initiative leagues (six Major Division teams; four Junior Division teams) enjoyed a unique and educational journey when they traveled to Little League International, site of the annual Little League Baseball World Series.
The Little League Urban Initiative 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 Baseball and Softball education and training programs, advocacy, and networking.
A component of Little League Baseball and Softball, the Little League Urban Initiative began in 1999 with programs in Los Angeles, and Harlem, N.Y., and expanded to other cities in 2000. The program is currently operating in nearly 85 cities in the United States.
Through the 2008 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of 2,779 teams, which equates to approximately 43,000 players, and has participated in 21 field renovation/development projects.