Little League Urban Initiative to Organize State-Based Jamboree Events
The Little League Urban Initiative was created to provide opportunities for communities in metropolitan areas to reap the benefits of having Little League in their neighborhoods. This year, that mission will be enhanced by local Urban Initiative leagues hosting games between fellow Urban Initiative leagues.
The Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree, which for several years welcomed Little League teams chartered through the Little League Urban Initiative to Little League International in South Williamsport, Pa., will be re-invented this year to provide local Urban Initiative leagues with an opportunity to host a competitive, state-wide Jamboree, exclusive to leagues participating in the Urban Initiative program.
“Beginning in 2004, local leagues participating in the Little League Urban Initiative were invited to the annual Jamboree held on the Little League International complex,” Demiko Ervin, Director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. “Those events were successful and beneficial for the leagues involved. The primary goals of taking the Jamboree to the state level are to increase the number of youth from Urban Initiative Little Leagues that get to participate in a ‘tournament style’ event, and to better serve Urban Initiative leagues on a state-wide basis by giving local league members, coaches and players a greater chance to network and share ideas with each other.”
The first of the Urban Initiative State Jamborees, sponsored by the Torii Hunter Project, will be held in Atlanta, May 28-31. The Torii Hunter Project, founded by the all-star outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is a comprehensive, long-term effort to impact youth in need in various parts of the United States. The project has four areas of focus related to youth: Sports, Community, Education, and Wellness. Urban Initiative leagues from the state of Georgia and South Carolina will be participating.
In June, Houston will welcome leagues from across Texas (June 3-5); Chicago will host a Jamboree for Urban Initiative leagues from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana (June 11-13); and Newark, N.J. will have teams from across the state and one from Philadelphia participating in its weekend-long tournament (June 11-13).
“The motivation behind extending the Jamboree concept to the state level was a matter of opportunity,” says Ervin. “Bringing teams to South Williamsport, giving them a chance to play on the World Series fields, and exposing them to Little League’s history and origin are all great, but we want to take the next step. The next step is recognizing those leagues that have embraced the Urban Initiative mission and allow them to show what a local league can do with the proper mix of resources, support and community involvement.”
At the Jamborees in Chicago and Newark, The Baseball Factory will conduct a clinic for all Jamboree participants.
The state-based Jamborees will take the place of the annual Little League Urban Jamboree that Little League International hosted over Memorial Day weekend.