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Why volunteering and your local Little League matters

Ed Lowery
Thurmont Little League

(1/2017) There is no disputing that volunteering at any level requires both commitment and engagement. The desire to support any cause through the volunteering of personal time and talents starts with having a passion. "Passion" is the key word. That passion to the volunteer could not be more evident in our very own local Little League organization, Thurmont Little League (TLL). Little League Baseball is an organization designed to build good citizens. It is a program of leadership, preparing today's youth to be tomorrow's leaders. Here, at the local level, Little League relies on a devoted legion of adult volunteers to help ensure that the organization remains structured and runs smoothly. TLL is always looking for responsible and enthusiastic individuals to support Little League activities right here in our community. The 2017 Spring season will be a great opportunity for community members to become involved in our program.

TLL is all about community. From our opening day celebration, to the final game, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, fans, turn out to watch our kids having fun. These players get to know each other even though they may attend different schools, or live a few towns apart from each other. They learn to work together as a team, while building individual character.

Many people do not realize the commitment that goes into running a youth organization the size of TLL. TLL is truly a 12 month operation. January through March we are preparing for the season at hand, April through June we are in the heat of the regular season, and July through August is the All-Star season. September through October we operate a Fall baseball season, and we reserve the November-December timeframe for the next seasonís planning. The November-December months truly are the most important months of the year to ensure success of the upcoming Spring season.

The business and organizational side of running TLL can be very challenging, but rewarding. We are very fortunate to get support from the Town of Thurmont to use a handful of fields at East End Park. The remainder of the fields, buildings and complex are owned and operated by TLL. With nearly 400 kids in the program, field space is always at a premium. Over the past three years our program has exploded with players from Emmitsburg, Taneytown, Cascade, Rocky Ridge, and Keymar. We are always looking for ways to expand our ability to provide additional playing facilities within the local region to service our players and families. Our registrations continue to go grow year after year. This is contrary to what you may read in many news articles that youth participation in baseball in declining. Locally here in our community, Little League baseball continues to prosper.

Over the past three years, we have seen an outstanding improvement in our organization as the result of some key focus areas, and contributions from some vital volunteers. Our ability to gain sponsorships has quadrupled, and we have done a good job promoting the benefits of what Little League baseball can offer our community. Since 2014, our volunteers have worked very hard to build a stronger baseball community. Additionally, we have improved our facilities with some key capital projects. Most recently in 2015, we completed a $30,000 renovation of our concession stand. Our board prides themselves on improving the playerís experience year over year. However, the battle to keep improving is an uphill one that is certainly continuous.

Little League and community baseball is all about providing a positive experience. The positive experience begins with our talented volunteer coaches. TLL (like many other LLís across Frederick County) has some of the most highly trained and experienced coaches developing our young players. Additionally, we provide our coaches with multiple clinics, mentoring, and supporting resources to truly be successful. Little League coaches are non-paid volunteers. TLL does not tout the accomplishments of our coaches from their playing days to impress our community. Our collective coaching accomplishments play out in form of the success of our Little Leaguers. The quote, "work hard in silence and let success make the noise" summarizes our collective approach to the coaching craft. Itís all about the showcasing of our playerís talents. In 2016, we had a very successful season at all division levels, and all of our games were played right here at our complex. TLL won our second consecutive 9/10 State Championship (there are 80+ LLís in Maryland), our 11/12ís won the Maryland District 2 Championship, and our minor league All-Star Team won the Frederick American LL invitational tournament. These accomplishments are a testament to the many dedicated volunteers who spend countless hours coaching our youth, and the many volunteers who dedicate their time to making TLL a great baseball experience. If community baseball is of interest to you and your family, we can assure you here at TLL we will do everything we can to ensure that experience is a positive one. At the end of the day, you can count on some very passionate volunteers looking to build a stronger community built around enjoying Americaís favorite pastime. Come see what we are all about. Play Little League baseball.

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