Indiana High School Student Completes Volunteer Project to Benefit Local League
Being an inspiration to many at a young age doesn’t happen often, but 18-year-old James Kemp has pulled it off. James, a high school senior at Yorktown High School in Yorktown, Ind., is setting an example for everyone in his community with his recent volunteer project to benefit the Yorktown Junior Athletic Association (JAA) Little League. James created shelters for six dugouts in his community, which will benefit countless Little Leaguers® now, and in the future. For many, a project of this capacity would seem too large of an undertaking, but for James it was just the right challenge to combine his love of Little League® and his motivation to become an Eagle Scout.
James led a group of volunteers to both design and build six dugout coverings over the span of just a few weeks. The dugout covers will help shelter Little Leaguers in Yorktown from poor weather and foul balls. It is estimated that this much needed project saved Yorktown JAA Little League nearly $20,000.
James fondly looks back on his ten seasons as a Little Leaguer and knew it was only fitting to give back to the league that gave him so much.
“The older I become and the more I think back on my days as a Little League Baseball® player, the more I appreciate not only the skills I picked up, but also the values,” said the high-school senior who plans to study business and entrepreneurship at Ball State University upon graduation. “I had good games, and I had bad games, but behind every game and practice was a lesson.”
In 2010, James had one of those good games, as he and his Junior League Baseball team were crowned Indiana District 6 champions. He recalls, “At the beginning of the bottom of the 8th inning, our first three batters had reached base, and I knocked the winning run in with a walk-off double for the championship. At that, our entire bench cleared and the guys piled on me at second. It’s definitely a night I will never forget.”
The championship was one of his fondest memories and proves that hard work and teamwork pay off.
James not only worked hard in Little League, but also as a member of The Boy Scouts of America.
When James was 12 years old, his Scoutmaster, Steve Chatot, told him it would take a lot of work and planning, but that the rank of Eagle Scout was attainable.
“Six and a half years later, James has not only become a multi-sport athlete in high-school, but also an Eagle Scout,” said Mr. Chatot. “James is the epitome of what can be done when you set your mind to it.”
It is those life lessons learned in both Little League and The Boy Scouts of America that led James to this incredible volunteer project.
Scott Smalstig, who serves as Chair of the Board of JAA could not say enough good things about James and his dugout shelter project.
"The Boy Scout motto of always serving others is personified not only by James Kemp, but also by his family, and their continued, dedicated, selfless service to JAA,” said Mr. Smalstig. “The project took leadership, planning, procurement of resources, recruitment of volunteers, coordination of schedules, attention to detail, commitment to excellence, decision making at every turn, and, of course, lots of sweat.”
The great thing about volunteering is its ability to inspire others to make a difference in their own community. James has a similar hope that he will inspire others, particularly those in his troop.
“I believe that after seeing how big a difference this dugout project can make they [fellow troop members] will be inspired to go the extra mile with their projects and do something that will really make a difference for people.”
There is no doubt that this project will inspire others to make a difference in their own community. Friday, October 25 is National Make a Difference Day, so start a project in your own community.
Little League is grateful to all its nearly 1.5 million volunteers that make each season a success.