As a local youth baseball coach, Jason Wells has seen families struggle to support their child’s love of the game, due to the rising cost of youth sports.
“Equipment, uniforms, league fees and tournament fees can make baseball an expensive youth sport,” said Wells. “Our team does whatever it can to keep costs reasonable, yet there has always been a significant fee per player to participate.”
This issue is not new. In 2000, longtime youth baseball coach Larry Britegam wanted to help families who struggle with the financial demands of organized sports, so he established the Youth Baseball Fund at the Greater Salina Community Foundation. This fund, along with the community foundation’s Sunflower Softball Fund, provides support for local youth who want to participate in baseball or softball but are limited by a lack of funds. Grants may be used to cover registration fees, tournament fees, equipment, uniforms and clinics.
“This fund truly has an impact on the kids that love baseball and need some financial help to participate,” Wells said. “While most of these kids will never earn a baseball scholarship, they may create experiences and friendships they will remember the rest of their lives.”
Since the baseball and softball funds were started, 190 young baseball and softball players in the Salina area have received a combined total of $50,881.30.
“I would like to thank all those who put forth the time and money to keep this fund going,” Wells said. “Thanks for helping kids in Salina have an opportunity to be a part of these teams.”
This season, more than $8,000 is available for baseball and $2,000 is available for softball. Applications open February 1, with deadlines of February 15, March 15, April 15 and May 15, 2020. Funding will be awarded on a first come, first served basis and decisions will be announced after each grant deadline. Apply online at http://gscf.org/search-apply-for-a-grant/.
For additional information, contact Brandee Mayginnes, director of grants and scholarships, at 785-823-1800.