Andover Youth Baseball (AYB) is excited to have a season this year! After a season-cancelling pandemic swept across the world last spring, we are eager to enjoy youth baseball once again down at the Howard George Field on Lawrence Street.
If previous years are any indication of community baseball demand, we are likely to field four teams, one at each level. Our teams — TBall (5 and 6 year olds), Rookies (7 and 8), Minors (9 and 10) and Majors (11 and 12) — will face off against kids from the surrounding towns of Bradford, Grantham, Warner, Wilmot, Sunapee, and New London.
With any luck, the snow and ice will be melted on the field in the next couple weeks, and a group of community volunteers will prepare the field for the season. Teams will start outside practices in April, and opening day is scheduled for Saturday, May 8.
If you are looking to register your child to play this season, just visit go.teamsnap.com/forms/261034 to register online. If you don’t have a child to register, I hope you’ll find a moment on a Saturday morning to stop down at the field and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of youth baseball. It is going to be a great season!
After many years of dedicated service by Justin Carey, Dave Powers, Chris Cloutier, and many other community members, the AYB Program is being stewarded by a new group of community volunteers. These folks have been working behind the scenes with registration, fundraising, equipment inventory, field preparation, community outreach, budgeting, and planning for the future sustainability of baseball in Andover.
We have big dreams! In the years to come, AYB is hoping to re-do the wooden bleachers, plant a flagpole, fix the scoreboard, revitalize the batting cage, reinvigorate the infield playing surface, and re-establish the pitching mound.
It is our belief that a thriving youth program teaches kids of all abilities about teamwork, and the basic skill fundamentals of the sport. However, in addition to those lessons, it is also important that a youth program seeks to connect with kids about their individual and group responsibility in such a way that it nurtures a sense of community pride and ownership.
Just recently a member of the Andover community — who wishes to remain anonymous — donated $1,500 to help restore the infield playing surface, $1,000 to support members of the community that can’t afford registration fees or equipment, and purchased two Red Sox-Yankees tickets ($800 face value) for a game in June to serve as a season-long raffle fundraiser to support the program.
I am hoping that this incredibly generous donation will inspire others in the community to support our reinvigoration of youth baseball in Andover. For instance, the Infield Restoration Project (supplies, rental equipment, and labor) costs an additional $2,700. It is critical that we invest in our field. AYB is focused on making sure that the kids of Andover have a place to play baseball that they can be proud of for the foreseeable future.
In years past, members of the local business community have offered to financially sponsor Andover Youth Baseball. Those ongoing sponsorships were incredibly important to the program’s viability, because it allowed the program to keep registrations costs low and provide for any kid in town that wanted to play regardless of their ability to pay. Community sponsorship also helped pay for bats, balls, gloves, catcher’s gear, helmets, cleats, uniforms, field maintenance equipment, and concession stand inventory.
We are hoping to reestablish some of those relationships in the community this year. AYB will be purchasing custom vinyl signs to hang on the backstop to thank our local sponsors. Please contact AYB President Adam Jones at ChrisAdamJones@nullgmail.com for information about sponsorship opportunities. We could really use your support.
As we re-emerge from our homes this spring after a long year in self-quarantine, one of the best things we can do is nurture community. One of those ways is supporting the kids in town who are learning to play baseball and learning what it means to be a community member.
Maybe that means becoming a sponsor to help us achieve our goals. Or maybe that means coming down to the field on a Saturday afternoon, cheering on the local kids, and buying some food at the concession stand.
Regardless of the way you contribute, it matters. Thank you for your help.