Much like everything else the last few years, Little League® was knocked off its intended course. However, incredible dedication and persistence from parents, coaches, and volunteers has helped bring Little League back on track in resounding fashion.
A great example of this commitment can be seen in local leagues such as Powell (Wyo.) Little League, where League President Travis Jones brought life back into the community through Little League following the pandemic.
“It takes some effort, but I am just trying to bring baseball back,” said Mr. Jones. “After the last couple years, baseball really took a hit in Powell and it wasn’t going to come back from anything more than effort.”
With Mr. Jones at the helm, the Powell Little League Board of Directors went above and beyond, visiting more than 100 local businesses in an attempt to sow Little League deep into the fabrics of Powell. The in-person attempts proved beneficial, as Mr. Jones and the Powell Little League gained 28 new community sponsors for this past season, allowing the league to purchase all new uniforms, hats, and equipment.
With a focus on increasing participation, Mr. Jones was even able to leverage relationships with local businesses and get the Powell Little League registration poster into pizza boxes and other food delivery containers.
When Powell Little League had their first of two in-person registration events in February, the fruits of the board’s labor could not have been more present. Thanks to the tireless efforts from Mr. Jones, Powell Little League saw a 63% increase in participation over the last year, giving 251 players across 21 teams the opportunity to write their own chapter in the Little League history books.
“It takes a lot of effort by everybody on the board, but you have to remember who you’re doing it for,” said Mr. Jones. “It’s just amazing to get to watch all the kids smile and see people who have never played baseball before enjoying the game.”
Powell Little League is joined in the Northwest by Rainier (Ore.) Little League, which has expanded from 95 to 135 players in just one year. Efforts from League President Kim O’Brien have people in the Rainier community excited about baseball and eager to start their series.
“With people being home so much the last couple years, I think a lot of them are just ready to get out of the house,” said Mrs. O’Brien. “We get a lot of people just showing up and watching our games because it’s a lot of fun to watch the kids play and interact with everyone at the ballpark.”
Leveraging social media, word of mouth, and a tech-savvy board member, Rainier Little League was able to invigorate the local community by simplifying the registration process and amplifying the league’s message online.
“We wanted to make it as easy as possible for parents to register, and then we just had to be persistent in everything we did with marketing, advertising, and social media,” said Mrs. O’Brien.
So, despite battling through a pandemic the last few years, the future has never been brighter for Little League. Dedicated commitment from players, coaches, and volunteers like Mr. Jones and Mrs. O’Brien will continue to breathe life into Little League’s expansion and prioritization of inclusivity as the organization continues to find more ways to get children out onto the field all around the world. Whether it be in the mountains of Wyoming, the forests of Oregon, or the local Little League field right down the street, Little League Baseball and Softball has never been more present.