As many of us know, money is a necessary evil when it comes to any kind of sport at all levels. Normally, a lot of people will cringe when the word “fundraiser” or “donation” comes up. You see the kids with car wash signs and kids with raffles. These little boogers seem to be everywhere at all times of the year. But before we shut these kids down, let’s look a little deeper into it than just a Little League student-athlete asking you for your hard earned money.
First of all, who doesn’t want our student-athletes to have the best and safest equipment out there? Equipment and uniforms are almost like buying a new car. You get pretty much what you pay for. It all must be maintained and updated constantly as well. So for our student-athletes to maintain good quality equipment, they ask us for help.
If you do some studying, you’ll see that it cost a whole lot to merely have a decent uniform & or safety equipment. Did you know that a new Little League football helmet averages between $120 and $200? That’s just ONE piece of necessary safety equipment. You still have shoulder pads, jerseys, footballs, chinstraps, etc. to purchase. How about Little League Baseball/Softball? They have to hire folks to keep the grass mowed, keep the lights going, buy food for concession, and much more to give kids a nice ballpark to play at. Most baseball and softball teams also do a fundraiser for their team uniforms or try to get their uniforms donated. Basketball holds plenty of costs in uniforms and equipment also. Now add those things up by 25 or 30 players per team in each sport. It adds up rather quickly.
Mansfield Little League Football Secretary Adam Hecox said “Any kid playing any sport from any town deserves nothing but the best. They deserve the safest equipment, the nicest uniforms, and the best playing venues. That’s why we ask for donations and do fundraisers all the time. Other than gate fees, donations and fundraisers are our only sources of income. There’s a LOT of unseen costs in Little League sports. Programs pay for the referees and umpires, they maintain their playing venues, they replace broken or outdated equipment, and some even buy their own concessions to sell. To cover all of that while trying to build and improve our Little League programs is rough. We’ve been blessed with great support from our community and hope it continues.”
President of the Sodie Davidson Park in Waldron, Jared Kluthe, says“Fundraisers and donations are the biggest sources of income for these programs to supply the equipment for the safety and also the training of the youth in our programs. It takes thousands of dollars to make these programs succeed and without the donations and fundraising, it would not possible for small communities like ours to have youth sports. It’s all about the kids and making it possible for them to have a fun safe experience in all of the activities our small communities provide.”
These kids aren’t panhandlers on the side of the road. They’re not asking for you to fork over the money for your next car or house payment. They’re just asking for help keeping their programs running in good condition. You’re more important than you’ll ever know to the Little League Football, Baseball, and Basketball programs in your community. So if you have a spare dollar or even penny laying around, spend it on your local Little League programs.