Simply put, anyone approved by a local league or district, and meeting Little League’s regulations, can become a Little League volunteer. Volunteers have been the lifeblood of Little League since its inception, and millions of children each year rely on the selfless dedication of adult volunteers to donate their time and talents to bring the Little League experience to their hometown.
So, how do you become a Little League volunteer?
It starts with an application and a background check.
Regulation I (b) and (c) (8&9) in the current edition of the Little League Official Regulations, Playing Rules and Operating Policies, requires that the following volunteers consent to an annual background check:
- Team managers, official coaches, and practice coaches
- All members of the Board of Directors
- Concession stand staff
- Grounds crew and facilities staff
- Team Parents
- Anyone with regular service to the league/repetitive access to, or contact with, the Little Leaguers® or their teams
It’s important to remember that all Little League volunteer positions are annual positions, and need to be reapproved, pending a background check, each year.
Why is a Little League Volunteer Application necessary?
A Little League Volunteer Application has different details that a league official can utilize. The application asks about the volunteer’s employment because this information can help with the placement of a volunteer.
For example, someone who is an accountant may have experience in finance and could help with roles like:
- Concession Stand Manager.
Some other questions include, certifications and training. League officials want to make sure that someone who is CPR and First Aid certified is available at any games/practices. If a volunteer has children in the league, the league may want them to volunteer when their child/children is not playing so they are available to watch their own child/children play.
One of the main purposes of the Little League Volunteer Application is to provide consent for the league official to run a background check on the potential volunteer and to gain all the information that is necessary to run a background check.
How can a Little League Volunteer Application be completed?
The first way a league official can utilize the JDP Quick App, which is available through the preferred background check provider of Little League — JD Palantine:
- Local Leagues can use the JDP QuickApp which allows league volunteers to conduct their own Little League Volunteer Application and background check. The league board member has to enter the volunteer’s information, name and email address through the JDP platform which will send a link atuomatically to the volunteer to complete the QuickApp.
- For leagues that participate with Sports Connect, they have integrated their ability to conduct national background checks on local and district volunteers through the Sports Connect platform. An integration between Sports Connect and JDP is available for a seamless process for both the league volunteer and the league admin.
This will allow the league volunteer to complete their own volunteer application, including the social security number. The Little League Volunteer Application is tied with the background check, so that your league administrators can view that information on the league’s JDP Portal or the Sports Connect platform. An added benefit is that all the information is stored on the JDP Portal, eliminating the need for the league to store that sensitive personal information.
For leagues wishing to utilize a more manual process, or a background check company that is comparable to JDP, there is still an electronic version of the Little League Volunteer Application available on the Little League website. This application can be printed and used by leagues that utilize JDP through a manual process, but not the JDP QuickApp. Leagues utilizing this process should familiarize themselves with the storage and retention policies found in Regulation I (c)(8).
What should a league official do after the Little League Volunteer Application is completed?
Leagues that are utilizing the JDP QuickApp must check the JDP Platform to verify that the volunteers are completing the JDP QuickApp process. The link that is emailed out to league volunteers are available for 30 days and a reminder email is sent out every day until the link expires. Once the league official confirms the JDP QuickApp is completed, they must confirm there is not a criminal charge on the background check that prohibits the individual from participating in the league per Little League Regulation 1(c)9, and be aware that you must contact Samantha Mahaffey, Little League International’s Security Manager, if a background check conducted on any potential volunteer reveals that person is listed on the National Sex Offender Registry. Lastly, leagues must still check the volunteer’s information on the application with a government-issued photo ID to verify both information match.
When should Little League Volunteer Application be completed?
The Little League Volunteer Application should be completed and approved before the volunteer starts their volunteer service to the league. Recruiting volunteers, processing the respective applications, and assigning duties are tasks typically completed by local league officials during the preseason. To learn more, view the LLU Webinar Series on Parents, Volunteers, and Appointments.
Where can I find more information about the background check process with the Little League Volunteer Application?
For further clarification on the individuals that are expected to complete a volunteer application and be background checked, Little League University provides local league officials with the criteria for selection of volunteers; explains to parents — who are the most likely to volunteer — how volunteer background checks are included in the Little League Child Protection program; and supplies answers to a list of frequently asked questions about background checks.