In its second year back since the pandemic, the Little League® Urban Initiative Jamboree events saw record performances in 2023, including the largest softball event in the program’s history and the addition of nine first-time participating leagues.
“Since we held our first Jamboree nearly two decades ago, these events have provided opportunities to children within our Urban Initiative programs and we are proud to see it continue to thrive and bring in new leagues,” said Demiko Ervin, Little League Director of the Urban Initiative. “On behalf of Little League International, and all the dedicated volunteers who made these events possible this year, I want to thank all the participants and congratulate them all on a memorable year. We look forward to welcoming more players to participate in next year’s events and provide more opportunities to communities in need as part of the Urban Initiative.”
Inspired by the Little League World Series, the Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree was first established in 2004 with one national tournament, and in 2010 was expanded to region-based events. At these Jamborees, teams compete in a weekend-long tournament with the championship game typically being played on Sunday afternoon. Throughout the year, a total of seven Jamboree events (five baseball, two softball) were held across the United States, featuring 58 total teams from 47 leagues competing for a chance to be crowned a champion.
Below are the names of the champion leagues from each of the 2023 Little League Urban Initiative Jamborees:
- California Baseball Jamboree (National City, Calif.) – Encanto LL (San Diego, Calif.)
- California Softball Jamboree (Richmond, Calif.) – Ridgeline LL (San Bernardino, Calif.)
- Central Region Jamboree (Milwaukee, Wis.) – Warren Park LL (Chicago, Ill.)
- East Region Softball Jamboree (Washington, D.C.) – Mamie Johnson LL (Washington, D.C.)
- Florida State Jamboree (Clearwater, Fla.) – Yellow Jackets LL (Tampa, Fla.)
- New York Metro Jamboree (Bronx, N.Y.) – Mount Vernon (N.Y.) LL
- Texas State Jamboree (Houston, Texas) – Southeast LL (Houston, Texas)
In addition to Mamie Johnson Little League, who took home the championship banner, seven other teams participated in the 2023 East Region Softball Jamboree, setting the record for the most participating teams in a Little League Urban Initiative Softball Jamboree.
Additionally, nine of the 47 participating leagues also experienced a Jamboree for the first time ever, giving the kids in their community a fun and memorable opportunity this year. Those nine leagues are:
- Valley de Oro LL (Spring Valley, Calif.)
- STARS LL (Fort Myers, Fla.)
- Banneker City LL (Washington, D.C.)
- South Baltimore (Md.) LL
- North Newark (N.J.) LL
- Parkwood American LL (Houston, Texas)
- Mount Vernon (N.Y.) LL
- Pinole Hercules (Calif.) LL
- Pittsburg (Calif.) LL
Along with the fun, integrity, and teamwork showcased on the field as part of these events, the 2023 Urban Initiative Jamborees also saw collaborations with the University of San Diego, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, and the Milwaukee Brewers to further enhance the player experience.
Established in 1999 to provide opportunities for communities in underserved communities to reap the benefits of having local Little League programs in their neighborhoods, the Little League Urban Initiative has helped tens of thousands of children and volunteers in more than 180 communities throughout the United States. This program provides annual opportunities to approximately 50,000 players across more than 4,000 Little League teams, and has participated in nearly 30 field renovation and development projects around the country. These Jamborees are unique events to bring players from local programs that benefit from the support of the Urban Initiative together for a weekend of camaraderie and competition. This year, Gatorade also teamed up to provide more than 5,600 Gatorade Hydration Packs and $54,000 in donations to 54 local leagues and their players within the Little League Urban Initiative program.