Sports and Volunteer Service is a Winning Combination

march, gilmour, davis
(L-R) Emma March, Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Ph.D., and Mo’ne Davis at the 2014 Little League Baseball® World Series.

By: Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Ph.D.
Chairman, Little League International Board of Directors
President, Pennsylvania College of Technology

Attending a small, rural high school in Pennsylvania, my fellow classmates and I participated in multiple activities. I played field hockey and marched in the band. An athletic injury cut my field hockey career short, but my coach knew how much the team and the game meant to me. She named me the team “manager” and as such, I traveled with the team and participated at every game. I often report this was my first management position, introducing me to strategic organizational skills, leadership, team, and personal development. Another part of the small town life was a strong commitment to volunteerism. My family set the tone. Both Mom and Dad volunteered with community civic groups and it was a given for my sister and me to give back to others.

When we now fast-forward to 2017, I am honored to serve as the first woman president at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pa. My week is filled with activities that remind me of those early, hockey manager duties. I need to stay organized to get it all done. Daily, I work with a team of people, and we all need to move in the same direction toward our mission and function as a “well-practiced hockey” team.

My volunteer work is a cornerstone of my life. As the first woman Chairman of the Little League® International Board of Directors, I am thrilled to give my time and energy to the world’s largest and best youth sports organization. Little League could not exist without the million volunteers who support the 2.4 million players.

As I think about National Girls and Women in Sports Day, I believe my reflections underscore the value of women in sports and the power of volunteerism. Little League Softball and Baseball exemplify both. My life is rich and full with work and time spent sharing and giving to others. My wish for you is to know for yourself the joy I receive when giving back.

I had the pleasure of meeting Cat Osterman this past summer. Ms. Osterman was enshrined into the Little League Hall of Excellence. My time with her was valuable. I enjoyed learning about her softball experiences, her family life, and her life after playing. I felt comfortable talking to this accomplished athlete and woman, and I knew that young girls are lucky to have her as a role model. Yet role models are also of a tender age.

Three years ago, Mo’ne Davis played in the Little League Baseball® World Series. Her on-field performance and off-field poise was a major news focus. What few remember was that Mo’ne was NOT the only girl at the series that August. Emma March also played for the team from Canada. I was fortunate to have a picture taken with both young women, and I enjoyed a private moment with them. What transpired at that moment is what makes Little League special and it underscores the power of women and girls in the world today. As we were talking about the upcoming games, Mo’ne and Emma looked at each other and said, “If my team does not win, I hope yours does.” Sharing that moment, as these two young, athletic champions exchanged such a sentiment created a lifetime memory for me. Two young women were supporting each other, putting their personal success in second place. That is what inspires me to work every day for the future of youth sports and young women around the world.

This story is a first-person story written by Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, Ph.D., who is the first woman Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors and is the first woman President at Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport, Pa.). The feature is also the first segment of a month-long initiative by Little League Baseball and Softball to honor National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) on February 1, 2017.