Dear Members of Whitney Little League,
This coming spring season we will be celebrating 60 years of Whitney Little League baseball! Through those 60 years, our league has seen change. Like the neighborhood it serves, it has grown, then contracted and turned over a few times. Through this process, the league has always been a presence and place where our youth learn a love of baseball, friendship and fun. However, as time has passed, like many other leagues in our area, it has struggled to maintain what Little League International deems as a long term functional sized league. Generally, Little League International recommends Leagues to be at five hundred (500) to one thousand (1,000) players. In contrast, over the past several seasons, WLL has held steady at around two hundred forty (240) participants. With the rise of competitive baseball programs, other growing sports, Little Leagues throughout our area have seen a steady decline in participation. These factors continue to present significant challenges to ensure the basics are covered with running a Little League.
Every year, it takes a concerted effort to overcome the challenge to field enough volunteers to run and manage the league. From grounds keeping, coaching, fundraising, board members, snack bar volunteers, to scorekeeping; the current board, like those in the past, must continuously be creative and innovative to keep the league in a state of health and security when it comes to simply keeping the league running. Due to the size of our league, there is also the challenge of play. No matter how innovative we are, we are still required to work closely with neighboring leagues to ensure our higher age level teams have a regular season schedule that ensures an adequate amount of baseball and field availability. These challenges aren’t just seen at Whitney. They are evident in the overwhelming majority of leagues throughout District 5.
As a result of this issue, Whitney and Eastern Little Leagues were requested to discuss the possibility of merging for the betterment of both leagues and the community. As a result, representatives from both boards have met, conferred and discussed the proposal in a series of meetings and communications over the recent months. This process has led to a formal adoption from both leagues to merge forming one league with roughly 500 athletes. Those involved agree this is the best option to ensure Little League baseball has an opportunity to not only survive but thrive in our area. The merger, pending Little League approval, will be a process and will begin this coming season, and culminate with a new constitution, and board this summer. This is a significant and complicated endeavor as I would hope you would understand, many of the details are yet to be sorted out. A committee has been formed with representatives from both leagues to navigate the process. We also want to ensure you have a voice in the process as well. We will be holding a Q & A town hall meeting soon which any league member is welcome to come to ask questions regarding the topic and process. Soon we will be announcing details for this “town hall meeting” and hope you consider participating. Regardless, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitney Little League, Board President