When information comes up online, on social media, in the local print media about registration for an upcoming season, excitement builds in a local community. The player gets excited to be back on the playing field with his/her peers, having worked hard in clinics in the off season. A parent-coach is excited to work with the youth athletes of his local baseball league because last summer they ended up one game short of the state title and expectations are high for 2020. Family members are excited to catch another season of special memories of their son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, brother or sister playing baseball, perhaps their last year of youth baseball. In general, Rhode Island baseball communities get excited for what is sure to be an awesome 2020 baseball season.
Behind the scenes, local baseball leagues are putting together their rosters of volunteers for the various tasks needed to make 2020 a success. Volunteer recruitment is in full force around Rhode Island through social media, online registration websites, email marketing, and word of mouth. As players “graduate” out of youth baseball, so do the many volunteers who help out over the years. New volunteers are in high demand to fill important positions in our Rhode Island youth baseball leagues. Here are just some of the many splendid jobs that a V-O-L-U-N-T-E-E-R does every season of youth baseball:
- V is for Video – Video on social media is one of the most engaging ways to market your youth baseball league. Sites like Instagram and Facebook are great spots for videos of Opening Day, Home Run Derby, even your average Wednesday night league game. Volunteer to be a Video Coordinator for Social Media.
- O is for Off Season Clinics. Off season conditioning clinics help prepare players for the upcoming season. Contact a local baseball conditioning facility and work out a schedule of practices for your youth baseball league. Volunteer to be the Off Season Conditioning Coordinator.
- L is for Lights. Lights at a youth baseball field mean safety. Outfield lights brighten the field so players can enjoy the thrills of playing a night game. Lights around the concession stand provide safety for the fans during night games. When lights are out, safety may be compromised at your baseball park. Volunteer to be the Lights Safety Checker.
- U is for Uniforms. Every league puts in a massive order for uniforms. Uniforms with your league’s sponsor, your league’s symbols and colors, your league’s custom hats. Without the help of the uniform volunteer, our youth baseball players wouldn’t have the right gear to play the game. Volunteer to be the Uniform Coordinator.
- N is for Numbers. Bookkeeping and accounting for a non-profit organization is very important. Making sure taxes are filed, paying vendors, providing profit and loss statements at league wide meetings, writing checks to pay for umpires. Balancing the books for a local baseball league is a year round volunteer commitment. Volunteer to be your league’s Bookkeeper or Accountant.
- T is Town or City Liaison. Many Rhode Island baseball league parks are maintained by their respective town or city. I have sat in many league meetings and discussed the roles of Town workers in regards to the field maintenance and prep. Having a solid relationship with your town or city’s public works department to discuss important safety matters regarding the fields is key to making things happen. Volunteer to be your league’s Town or City Liaison.
- E is for End of the Year Cookout. The season was a huge success. Players, coaches, families are all riding high after a ridiculously successful spring and summer run in the districts. It is time to hand out MVP awards and Coach of the Year awards and have a huge cookout to celebrate the season. That planning starts in the winter months for a July, August cookout. Vendors, sponsors, food preparation, finding the grill, where to host it – all need to be ironed out months in advance. Volunteer to be your league’s End of the Year Cookout coordinator.
- E is for Email Marketing. This may come as a shock but not everyone receives their news on Facebook and Twitter. Some have 100% shunned those sites and rely on receiving their information about events (such as registration) via email. Email marketing can be done through a marketing site such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp, or one by one with a personal note. Volunteer to be your league’s Email Marketing Coordinator.
- R is for Rain Soaked Field – HELP!!! A playoff game is scheduled for 7pm. However, it has rained like cats and dogs since 7am and the field is SOAKED. Your league really needs to get this game in because the schedule is jam packed for the rest of the weekend. Your league needs volunteers to head over to the field and prepare the field properly and safely for a youth baseball game. Will you help out? Be a volunteer on the Rain Soaked Field emergency, we need a ton of help committee.
Webster’s Dictionary defines volunteer as “a person who expresses a willingness to undertake a service.” A youth baseball league that has 5 people running the entire operation is going to have gaps somewhere in the process. Uniforms will not be ordered and picked up on time. The end of the year cookout is cancelled. Important emails about registration and safety meetings aren’t sent out. Taxes aren’t filed on time and there is a late fee or penalty. Your rain soaked field that no one volunteered to help prep causes a game to be postponed indefinitely. If 200 players sign up for the season, 200 sets of parents/guardians could potentially volunteer for 1 position in your league. That 1 position could make such a huge difference in the overall operation of your league.
To all the parents and guardians and local community members who volunteer their time to help a local baseball league, I applaud you and thank you for your efforts this and every year of your service.