OTTAWA- Giving up their time and giving back to a sport is something that umpires in baseball do across diamonds all over Canada. Baseball Canada Umpires will take this approach to a whole new level as the Umpires Committee partners with KidSport™ Canada on a unique fundraising initiative. Starting in May, the Baseball Canada Umpires Committee will be asking each umpire to donate one game fee to KidSport, an organization that ‘removes financial barriers that prevent kids from playing organized sport.’
“Deep down, we want to show the world that umpires are good people,” said National Supervisor of Umpires Corrie Davis. “We care about the communities we live in, we care about the sport of baseball and this is certainly a way that we can give back to the game of baseball.”
KidSport was started by Sport BC in 1993. Sport BC saw a decreasing number of kids registering in sport and after doing some research determined the cost of playing was a major factor in the decrease of participation. KidSport™ Canada was created in 2005.
“At the end of the day we want MORE kids to be healthy and physically active by playing sport,” said three -time Olympian and CEO of KidSport™ Canada Diane Jones Konihowski. “A long term partnership with Baseball Canada will ensure that more kids and youth will be playing baseball across Canada”. Jones Konihowski has over 50 years experience in sport as an athlete, coach, administrator and volunteer, and says that this initiative is the first of its kind for KidSport™ Canada.
A sub-committee for the delivery of this initiative has been formed under the umbrella of the Baseball Canada Umpires’ Committee. The sub-committee is comprised of a representative from each province and will be responsible for promoting the program to umpires and sharing best practices that result in maximum umpire participation. A great feature of the program is that all of the money raised will go back into supporting baseball and can be channelled exactly where the umpires want it to be spent.
“All of the money that we raise will be kept in the sport of baseball. This is a way that we can contribute to the sustainability of the game and expose some new people to the game.
Davis is also quick to point out that the program could benefit the umpiring fraternity as well. With the amount of kids that will benefit from this program who haven’t played baseball before, umpiring may also be of interest to them.
“It will be a chance for us to expose some people to umpiring too, which can help with our long-term recruitment initiatives.”
Davis thought of the concept over a year ago and proposed the idea to the Umpires Committee who immediately jumped on board. Once the idea had legs, the decision to donate the money to a charity like KidSport was a relatively simple one.
“We chose to partner with KidSport because it’s a national charity, a sport related charity and it has chapters in every province,” explained Davis. “We’ll also be able to have a KidSport presence at local baseball events and even Baseball Canada’s National Championships.”
The opportunities for growth and exposure of the program are unlimited with such plans as having umpires wear yellow shirts (the official colour of KidSport) and sharing success stories in the media throughout the year to help promote the program.
“We’re donating funds that we generate during our volunteer time,” continued Davis. “This is not a job for us, and so I think it’s unique in that way.”
To view the donation page please click here