December 21, 2012
During this special time of year we often take time to reflect on the year that was. As we welcome and enjoy the company of family and friends during the holiday season, I want to take this moment to express my personal appreciation for the volunteer leadership you have provided the Little League program.
Each year, communities around the world are invigorated by the extraordinary and tireless efforts of District Administrators, Assistant District Administrators and more than one million local Little League officials and volunteers. Our program could not maintain its respected status as the leader in youth sports without its corps of volunteers. At Little League International, we recognize that you, the volunteers, are the foundation strength of this incredible movement and we can never say thank you enough.
Much success was enjoyed by our program in 2012, as we celebrated our 73rdseason, and approach our diamond anniversary season in 2014.
This year, the completion of a research project that targeted participation trends resulted in the development of an action plan that is currently under way; and Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour became the first woman elected to chair the Little League International Board of Directors.
On the field, Little League International unveiled the Little League Baseball Intermediate (50/70) Division; Lugazi Little League became the first team from Africa to play in the Little League Baseball World Series; and capital improvements to the five regional centers in the United States were completed, which included the extension of the outfield fences at all of the Little League International Tournament fields to 225 feet.
This year, ESPN, Little League's television partners, broadened its coverage of the Little League International tournament. The Longhorn Network, an ESPN property, televising all games of the Southwest Region Little League Baseball Tournament in Waco, Texas. In Williamsport, the use of replay and 3D technology at the Little League Baseball World Series was expanded as well.
Also in 2012, work began on the renovation of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum. The re-opening of the museum is scheduled for June 6, 2013 ... the 74thanniversary of the first Little League game.
Obviously, we hope these positive trends continue into 2013. With your help they can, and we are here to support you as we expand our efforts to increase participation in all divisions of our program. Please don't hesitate to call upon the professional staff in South Williamsport, or at your regional office, for assistance. We have a capable and committed team of people ready to assist you with all aspects of league and district operations.
We appreciate the thousands of you who will make the sacrifices necessary to provide millions of children with the Little League experience in 2013. This spirit of giving is a testament to the value of the Little League program, and it is the reason we are optimistic about the memories and successes that are to come.
In the meantime, I want to thank you again for another great Little League year, and send my warmest wishes to you and your families for a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.
Stephen D. Keener
President and Chief Executive Officer
Little League International