Little League Urban Initiative Announces Nine Jamboree Events
Since the Little League Urban Initiative decided to move its Jamboree concept from one national tournament to numerous state/regional tournaments in 2010, the initiative for boys and girls in urban neighborhoods has prospered. This year is no different with the addition of two jamborees and new venues.
Beginning with the Southern California Jamboree on April 27-29 in Los Angeles, Calif., nine jamboree events will take place over an eight-week period in seven different states and several different regions of the country. The number of jamborees has grown from four in the first year to seven in 2011 to the nine tournaments scheduled this year.
The program’s main goal is to bring the benefits of Little League Baseball and Softball to boys and girls in urban neighborhoods, with the jamborees allowing those same players the opportunity to participate in a tournament setting.
“We tried the state jamboree concept the last two years, and thanks to many people, including the organizers at each location, every event enjoyed considerable success and was well-received,” Demiko Ervin, Director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. “Because of that success, we have expanded the opportunities this year for even more children in the program to experience all the things that come with playing in a tournament setting.
“The jamborees are also a way to recognize those leagues that have embraced the Urban Initiative mission while allowing them to show what a local league can do with the proper mix of resources, support and community involvement.”
The 2012 Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree schedule includes the following events:
- April 27/29 – Southern California Jamboree (Los Angeles, Calif.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- May 4/6 – Florida State Jamboree (Clearwater, Fla.) – Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- May 4/6 – Florida State Softball Jamboree (Clearwater, Fla.) – Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Softball
- May 18/20 – Texas State Jamboree (Houston, Texas) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- May 18/20 – Northern California Jamboree (Stockton, Calif.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Softball
- May 25/27 – Georgia State Jamboree (Marietta, Ga.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- May 26/28 – New York Metro Invitational Jamboree (Bronx, N.Y.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- June 1/3 – Northwest Jamboree (Portland, Ore.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Softball
- June 22/24 – Illinois State Jamboree (Chicago, Ill.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
Houston and Chicago have served as sites for jamboree events all three years. Atlanta hosted a jamboree in each of the first two years with this year’s event moving to Marietta, an Atlanta suburb. Los Angeles, Tampa/Clearwater, and Stockton, Calif., all return to host events in 2012, after hosting successful tournaments in 2011.
The 2011 jamboree in Stockton was the first to host softball division players. They again will host a softball jamboree along with events in Clearwater, Fla., and Portland.
All nine jamborees this year will feature Major Division (9-12-year-olds) players. Each jamboree will feature between eight and 16 teams from leagues who are part of Little League’s Urban Initiative.
At each jamboree event, participating teams will take part in a weekend of games, instruction, and other special events, at no cost to their local league. At the end of the weekend, all the participants will leave with a lifetime of memories, and one team will own the championship banner. The weekend also offers a chance for coaches, managers and league officials to come together to network and share ideas.
“The relevance and impact of the Urban Initiative Jamboree events is evident by the enthusiasm of those who participate,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Office of the Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “The smiles on the faces of the players, parents and local league officials attending these annual jamborees demonstrate that success. Moreover, their appreciation for the program reinforces the importance of the role Little League can play in a child’s life.”
The state/regional jamborees took the place of the annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree hosted by Little League International each Memorial Day weekend. During the six years (2004-09) the Jamboree was played at the Little League International complex in South Williamsport, Pa., site of the Little League Baseball World Series, teams from 66 different Urban Initiative leagues and more than 800 players participated.
In the last two years, 134 teams and more than 1,700 players have had the opportunity to participate in an Urban Initiative Jamboree.
Little League’s Urban Initiative began in 1999 with programs in Los Angeles, Calif., and Harlem, N.Y. Since then it has expanded to more than 220 leagues in nearly 90 cities across the United States and participated in more than 30 renovation/field development projects. The Urban Initiative program has stimulated the participation of 4,000 teams and approximately 52,000 players since its inception.
More information on Little League’s Urban Initiative program can be found on the Little League website, at: www.LittleLeague.org; on the Little League Urban Initiative Facebook page, at: www.facebook.com/LittleLeagueUrbanInitiative; or by contacting Mr. Ervin at: dervin@LittleLeague.org.
The Southern California Jamboree had more than 175 players and 14 teams participate last year. Los Angeles, host city for the jamboree, was one of the first two cities in Little League’s Urban Initiative.