Big League Baseball Player, Eagle Scout Completes Project in Support of Western Region Headquarters
New Flag Pole Pavilion to Honor United States, State of California and Little League
Anthony Fontana is 18, and a Big League Baseball player in Alta Loma (Calif.) Little League. Since he was young, he and his family have chosen to be active in their community, and when it was time for Anthony to complete his Eagle Scout Project, reaching out to Little League was a natural.
The question then became what kind of project could satisfy the requirement and be an enduring benefit to the Little League program?
"Baseball has been such a big part of my life that I wanted my Eagle Scout project to be related to baseball," Anthony, who has played Little League from Tee Ball to Big League, said. "Since my best memories of baseball came from Little League, I thought maybe I could do something to help others have a good experience too."
Rick Fontana, Anthony's dad and a long-time volunteer in the Alta Loma (Calif.) Little League and California District 71, suggested that he contact Little League's Western Region Headquarters in San Bernardino, Calif., to see if there were any possibilities for an Eagle Scout Project.
"To be an Eagle Scout means you have dedicated a lot of time and work into being a Scout and that you've been dedicated to the program," Anthony said. "It also means that you have accomplished a lot and have done something that many people will never do.
"It's rewarding knowing you not only accomplished your goal, but you also did something for others along the way," Anthony said. "I never thought this project would get this much attention. It really came out great!"
Anthony Fontana, 18, recently completed his Eagle Scout Project and in turn provided the Little League Western Region Headquarters in San Bernardino, Calif., with a prominent addition to its complex. Anthony is a Big League Baseball player in the Alta Loma (Calif.) Little League, and for his Eagle Scout Project he raised the majority of the funding for the construction of a three-flag pole pavilion. The flags, located beyond the outfield fence at Al Houghton Stadium in the left-center field area, are flying the American Flag, the California State Flag and the Little League Baseball and Softball flags.
"We had two potential projects in mind," Jim Gerstenslager, Director of the Western Region, said. "When I was approached by Anthony Fontana about any needs we might have that he could help us with, I felt it was a natural for us to partner with Anthony and the Boy Scouts of America in this project."
"Jim had a planter wall that he wanted removed, and he also had an area in front of the complex to re-landscape," Mr. Fontana said. "Both would have been good projects, but Anthony was looking for something bigger and longer lasting. When Jim mentioned that he had always wanted a big flagpole for his large American flag, Anthony knew he had found his project."
"After speaking with Anthony he chose the flag pole need," Mr. Gerstenslager said. "Having a three-flag pole pavilion had been a wish of mine since I became regional director in 2004."
The new Western Region flag pole pavilion is located beyond the outfield fence in the left-center field area of Al Houghton Stadium. The pavilion consists of one 50-foot main flag pole and two 35-foot poles 20 feet on each side of the main pole.
"All three poles are designed to fly Old Glory (the American Flag) in the center with the California State flag on one side and the Little League flags on the other," Mr. Gerstenslager said. "Our plan is to fly both the Little League Baseball and Little League Softball flags at the same time with the one that is being played in the stadium at the time being on top. Up until now, the stadium just had one 35-foot flag pole to display the American Flag in center field which was very limiting. But now, we will be able to honor the great state of California and Little League at the same time."
Anthony began in the Little League program at the age of five playing Tee Ball. The 18-year-old expects to play his final season of Big League Baseball in 2011. In last season's Big League sectional tournament, Anthony threw a no-hitter.
"Baseball is a great sport that everyone can enjoy," Mr. Fontana said. "The best part of Little League is that it doesn't matter if you're a boy or a girl, or even physically challenged, Little League has a place for you.
"I love the fact that Little League does not exclude anyone regardless of who they are or what their abilities are," Mr. Fontana said. "It's for that reason that we have chosen to continue to participate in Little League."
Throughout his time playing in the Little League program, Anthony's mother, Cathy, has been team mom, and his father has served as his coach. Mr. Fontana also volunteered as the league's and district's safety officer for the last several years.
"Little League is the greatest youth sport organization in the world," Mr. Fontana said. "It's amazing when you consider the network of worldwide volunteers that make it happen year after year. I volunteer both at the League and District levels and it's very rewarding to see the kids playing, and knowing you played a small role in making it happen."
"I was very satisfied with how the project turned out," Anthony said. "My original project was to just purchase and install the 50-foot pole for the American Flag, but I had so much support and donations from everyone that I was also able to purchase and install the two other 35-foot poles for the state flag and the Little League flags. In fact, the final outcome exceeded my expectations."
The cost of the project exceeded $16,000. Anthony raised more than $11,000 with the Western Region contributing the balance from its annual golf tournament proceeds. The entire project, from planning to completion, took more than two months.