More Than a Dozen Leagues Participate in Houston’s Little League Urban Initiative State Jamboree
Children in Texas, playing Little League through the Council of Houston Inner-City Little Leagues (CHILL), took part in the second of four Little League Urban Initiative State-wide Jamborees being held this summer.
Co-champions were crowned at the conclusion of the Texas Jamboree. Taking top honors were Capitol Park Little League (San Antonio, TX) and Neartown Little League (Houston, TX).
In an effort to give more children and chartered Little Leagues the opportunity to participate in a tournament setting, Little League’s Urban Initiative is hosting Jamborees in Atlanta; Houston; Chicago; and, Newark, N.J.
The third Little League Urban Initiative State Jamboree will take place in Chicago, this weekend (June 11-13). Chicago’s Jamboree will welcome Urban Initiative Leagues from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
Also this weekend, the fourth Jamboree in Newark, N.J., will include teams from across New Jersey and one team from Philadelphia expected to participate.
The Jamborees in Chicago and Newark will feature a baseball skills clinic for the participating players conducted by The Baseball Factory.
“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 children 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.”
More than 200 players, on 15 teams, took parting in the Texas Urban Initiative Jamboree. Five different Little Leagues, all based in Houston and associated with (CHILL), served as hosts for the weekend-long event and activities. The host leagues included Denver Harbor Little League (Selena Perez Park), Dixie Little League (Ingrando Park), Magnolia National Little League (Hidalgo Park), Neartown Little League (Erwin Chew Park) and South Houston Little League. Urban Initiative leagues from across the state of Texas competed in the Jamboree.
The Little League Urban Initiative was established in 1999 to provide opportunities for communities in metropolitan areas to reap the benefits of having Little League in their neighborhoods.
The state-based jamborees in the four locations this summer are sponsored by the Torii Hunter Project. The all-star outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, founded the organization as part of a comprehensive, long-term effort to impact children in need in various parts of the United States. Now in his 14th Major League season, Mr. Hunter’s project has four areas of focus related to children: sports, community, education, and wellness.
“The motivation behind extending the Jamboree concept to the state level was a matter of opportunity,” Mr. Ervin said. “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.”
The four jamborees this summer are taking the place of the annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree that Little League International hosted Memorial Day weekend. During the six years the Jamboree was played at the Little League International complex in South Williamsport, Pa., teams from 66 different Urban Initiative leagues and more than 800 players participated.
The Little League Urban Initiative is now operating with more than 200 leagues in nearly 85 cities in the United States. Through the 2009 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of 3,901 teams and approximately 51,000 players. The Urban Initiative has also participated in nearly thirty field renovation/development projects, including a project unveiled last month in Richmond, Va.
The inaugural Little League Urban Initiative Texas State Jamboree was played June 5-6 in several locations in Houston. The 13 participating leagues played games and enjoyed other networking opportunities with other leagues chartered through the Little League Urban Initiative. Co-champions were crowned at the conclusion of the Texas Jamboree. Taking top honors were Capitol Park Little League (San Antonio) and Neartown Little League (Houston).