Friday, May 7, 2010

Torii Hunter Project Sponsors Little League's Jamborees

--Little League’s Urban Initiative State Jamborees Begin with Event in Atlanta--

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – In an effort to give more children and more leagues the opportunity to participate in a tournament setting, Little League’s Urban Initiative will hold jamborees in four locations this summer.  Events will be held in Atlanta, Ga.; Houston; Chicago; and, Newark, N.J.

“Beginning in 2004, local leagues participating in the Little League Urban Initiative were invited to the annual Jamboree held on the Little League International complex,” Demiko Ervin, Director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said.  “Those events were successful and beneficial for the leagues involved.  The primary goals of taking the Jamboree to the state level are to increase the number of children from Urban Initiative Little Leagues that get to participate in a ‘tournament style’ event, and to better serve Urban Initiative leagues on a state-wide basis by giving local league members, coaches and players a greater chance to network and share ideas.”

The Little League Urban Initiative was established in 1999 to provide opportunities for communities in metropolitan areas to reap the benefits of having Little League in their neighborhoods.

The first Urban Initiative State Jamboree will take place in Atlanta, May 28-31.  There will be more than 150 players participating comprising 11 teams.  Belvedere Little League, based in Decatur, Ga., will serve as the host for the weekend-long event and activities.  All Jamboree games will be played at Shoal Creek Park in Decatur.  Urban Initiative leagues from the state of Georgia and South Carolina will compete in the Jamboree.

The state-based jamborees in the four locations this summer are sponsored by the Torii Hunter Project.  The all-star outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, founded the organization as part of a comprehensive, long-term effort to impact children in need in various parts of the United States.  Now in his 14th Major League season, Mr. Hunter’s project has four areas of focus related to children: sports, community, education, and wellness.

The Jamboree in Houston will take place June 3-5, with teams from across Texas participating.  Chicago’s Jamboree will welcome Urban Initiative Leagues from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana for an event scheduled for June 11-13.  The same weekend as the Jamboree in Chicago, a Jamboree in Newark, N.J. will take place with teams from across New Jersey and one team from Philadelphia expected to participate.

“The motivation behind extending the Jamboree concept to the state level was a matter of opportunity,” Mr. Ervin said.  “Bringing teams to South Williamsport, giving them a chance to play on the World Series fields, and exposing them to Little League’s history and origin are all great, but we want to take the next step.  The next step is recognizing those leagues that have embraced the Urban Initiative mission and allow them to show what a local league can do with the proper mix of resources, support and community involvement.”

The Jamborees in Chicago and Newark will feature a clinic for the participating players conducted by The Baseball Factory.

The four jamborees this summer will take the place of the annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree that Little League International hosted Memorial Day weekend.  During the six years the Jamboree was played at the Little League International complex in South Williamsport, Pa., teams from 66 different Urban Initiative leagues and more than 800 players participated.

The Little League Urban Initiative is now operating with more than 200 leagues in nearly 85 cities in the United States.  Through the 2009 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of 3,901 teams and approximately 51,000 players.  The Urban Initiative has also participated in nearly thirty field renovation/development projects, including a current project in Richmond, Va.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.6 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.


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