The story of Little League® began nearly a century ago. And it’s up to us to write the latest installment in an epic series, every time we play.
Little League® is the first organized youth sports program in the world, and was founded in 1939 by Carl E. Stotz, a resident of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. During the spring of 1939, a total of 30 players formed three baseball teams, and Mr. Stotz along with a collection of volunteers from his neighborhood, embarked on the first season of Little League.
Little League® International believes in the power of youth baseball and softball to teach life lessons that build stronger communities and individuals. Through our divisions of Little League Baseball®, Little League Softball®, and the Little League Challenger Division®, Little League provides opportunities for all children to have a meaningful experience in approximately 6,500 leagues throughout the United States and in more than 80 countries.
The First Level: The Local Little League
Each local Little League program is organized within a community. As part of a league’s annual charter, it establishes its own boundaries to operate and support, providing children who reside or attend school within those boundaries the opportunity to participate within the league.
All league personnel, including the elected board members and officers, and each of the managers, coaches, umpires, field workers, etc., should be volunteers interested in providing the benefits of a Little League program to the youth of their community. Each volunteer must complete an annual volunteer application and submit to a national criminal background check to be eligible to participate as a league volunteer.
The local league Board of Directors, elected from and by the adult members of the league, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the league within the rules, regulations, and policies of Little League, as outlined by their league’s constitution and bylaws. The local league is an autonomous organization and encouraged to become incorporated, but it is not required.
Although leagues may assess a registration fee, used to purchase uniforms and equipment, maintain fields, etc., the fee cannot be a prerequisite for playing. The Little League philosophy does not permit any eligible candidate to be turned away. Emphasizing the spirit of Little League, rules require that every child plays in every game.
The Second Level: The District
For administrative and tournament purposes, roughly 10 to 20 leagues in a given area usually comprise a district. The District Administrator is an experienced volunteer elected by the constituent leagues to counsel, direct, and provide leadership in the policies and rules of the Little League program, and to serve as liaison between the leagues and the Regional Director.
The District Administrator organizes the district tournament and attends regular educational and operational events, including the International Congress where Little League rules and regulations are democratically reviewed and revised for the betterment of the program. There are more than 600 District Administrators worldwide, each with a staff of appointed and/or elected assistants to help more effectively serve his or her leagues. It is recommended, but not required, that the District become incorporated.
The Third Level: Regional and International Headquarters
The full-time staff members of Little League Baseball and Softball are dedicated to providing the resources and support for our volunteers to operate local Little League programs and support their communities. These professionals work with District Administrators, their assistants, and local league officials in developing new leagues, coordinating tournaments, and assisting in the overall operation of a local league program. The District Administrators report to the Regional Director, of which there are five in the United States (Warner Robins, Georgia; San Bernardino, California; Whitestown, Indiana; Bristol, Connecticut; and Waco, Texas), as well as in Puerto Rico; Canada; South Korea; and Poland.
Worldwide, there are approximately than 110 full-time Little League employees. Little League operations are headquartered in South Williamsport, Pa., and led by Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and the Little League Board of Directors, which includes nine field District Administrators elected to rotating terms by fellow District Administrators.
For more information on Little League’s divisions of baseball and softball, or how your community can join the Little League, contact the League Development Department.