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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2011 > January-April > Bigger & Better: Expanded Schedule of Little League Urban Initiative State Jamborees Set for This Spring

Bigger & Better: Expanded Schedule of Little League Urban Initiative State Jamborees Set for This Spring

Bigger & Better: Expanded Schedule of Little League Urban Initiative State Jamborees Set for This Spring

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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. Again 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., was re-invented in 2010 to provide regular-season teams from local Urban Initiative leagues with an opportunity to host a competitive, state-wide Jamboree, exclusive to leagues participating in the Urban Initiative program.

“Leagues came to the Jamborees with a wide variety of expectations, and the enthusiasm was equally exciting regardless of where the teams came from or how well they played,” Demiko Ervin, Director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. “I attended each Jamboree, and saw players and coaches enjoying the chance to play other Urban Initiative leagues. The other primary component of this type of event is the networking opportunities, which leagues took full advantage of.”  

Mr. Ervin has announced that in 2011 seven Urban Initiative Jamborees will be held throughout the United States.

The Southern California Jamboree in Los Angeles will be the first of the year (April 29-to-May 1). Five Jamborees will be played in May (Florida State Jamboree, Tampa, May 13-15; Northern California, Stockton, Calif., May 20-22; Mid-Atlantic Jamboree, Richmond, Va.; Georgia State Jamboree, Atlanta, Ga., Texas State Jamboree, Houston, May 27-29). The final Jamboree will be played in Chicago, June 10-12.

“We tried the state jamboree concept last year for the first time, and thanks to many people, including the organizers at each location, every event enjoyed considerable success and was well-received,” Mr. Ervin said.  “Because of that success, we have expanded the opportunities for even more children in the program to experience all the things that come with playing in a tournament setting.”

The Florida State Jamboree features Junior Division baseball teams, and the Northern California Jamboree welcomes Little League Major Division softball teams. This is the first time a state-hosted Urban Initiative Jamboree will cater to these divisions. The remaining five jamborees will be for Little League Major Division teams.

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For the second year, Little League Baseball and Softball will welcome several Little Leagues chartered through the Little League Urban Initiative to a series of regional Jamborees. The Florida State Jamboree will feature Junior Division baseball teams, and the Northern California Jamboree will welcome Little League Major Division softball teams. This is the first time a state-hosted Urban Initiative Jamboree will cater to these divisions. The remaining five jamborees will be for Little League Major Division teams.

“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 state jamborees took 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 motivation behind extending the Jamboree concept to the state level was a matter of opportunity,” 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 Little League Urban Initiative is now operating with more than 200 leagues in nearly 85 cities in the United States. Through the 2010 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 more than 30 field renovation/development projects.