The Urban initiative State Jamborees have been held each year since 2010. The response to these state-wide events from Little Leagues chartered through the Urban Initiative has been positive, and has generated much excitement for the hosts leagues and communities.Since the Little League Urban Initiative decided to move its Jamboree concept from one national tournament to numerous state/regional tournaments in 2010, the initiative for boys and girls in urban neighborhoods has prospered. This year is no different with the addition of two jamborees and new venues.
Beginning with the Southern California Jamboree on April 26-28 in National City, Calif., nine jamboree events will take place over an eight-week period in eight different states and several different regions of the country. The number of jamborees has grown from four in the first year to seven in 2011 to the nine tournaments scheduled this year.
The program’s main goal is to bring the benefits of Little League Baseball and Softball to boys and girls in urban neighborhoods, with the jamborees allowing those same players the opportunity to participate in a tournament setting.
“Thanks to many people, including the organizers at each location, the state jamborees have enjoyed considerable success and have been well-received over the past three years,” Demiko Ervin, Director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. “Each year we strive to expand the opportunities so that more children in the program have the opportunity to experience all the things that come with playing in a tournament setting.
“Another benefit of the jamborees is the recognition afforded to those leagues that have embraced the Urban Initiative mission, while allowing them to show what a local league can do with the proper mix of resources, support and community involvement.”
The 2013 Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree schedule includes the following events:
- April 26/28 – Southern California Jamboree (National City, Calif.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- May 3/5 – Florida State Jamboree (Tampa, Fla.) – Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- May 17/19 – Northern California Jamboree (Stockton, Calif.) – Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Softball
- May 24/26 – Georgia Jamboree (Marietta, Ga.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- May 25/27 – Pennsylvania Jamboree (Lancaster, Pa.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- May 31/June 2 – Northwest Jamboree (Portland, Ore.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Softball
- May 31/June 2 – Texas Jamboree (Pearland, Texas) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- June 7/9 – Central Region Jamboree (Indianapolis) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
- June 14/16 – New York Metro Jamboree (Bronx, N.Y.) - Major Division (9-12-year-olds) Baseball
Marietta Ga., Tampa, Fla., and Stockton, Calif., all return to host events in 2013, after hosting successful tournaments in 2012.
This year, the jamboree events held in Stockton and Portland, Ore., will feature Major Division Softball. Major Division (9-12-year-olds) players will participate in all nine of the jamborees. Each jamboree will feature between eight and 16 teams from leagues who are part of Little League’s Urban Initiative.
At each jamboree event, participating teams will take part in a weekend of games, instruction, and other special events, at no cost to their local league. At the end of the weekend, all the participants will leave with a lifetime of memories, and one team will own the championship banner. The weekend also offers a chance for coaches, managers and league officials to come together to network and share ideas.
“The relevance and impact of the Urban Initiative Jamboree events is evident by the enthusiasm of those who participate,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Office of the Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “The smiles on the faces of the players, parents and local league officials attending these annual jamborees demonstrate that success. Moreover, their appreciation for the program reinforces the importance of the role Little League can play in a child’s life.”
The state/regional jamborees took the place of the annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree hosted by Little League International each Memorial Day weekend. During the six years (2004-09) the Jamboree was played at the Little League International complex in South Williamsport, Pa., site of the Little League Baseball World Series, teams from 66 different Urban Initiative leagues and more than 800 players participated.
In the last three years, 221 teams and more than 2,744 players have had the opportunity to participate in an Urban Initiative Jamboree.
Little League’s Urban Initiative began in 1999 with programs in Los Angeles, Calif., and Harlem, N.Y. Since then it has expanded to more than 220 leagues in nearly 90 cities across the United States and participated in more than 30 renovation/field development projects. The Urban Initiative program has stimulated the participation of 4,000 teams and approximately 52,000 players since its inception.
More information on Little League’s Urban Initiative program can be found on the Little League website, at: www.LittleLeague.org; on the Little League Urban Initiative Facebook page, at: www.facebook.com/LittleLeagueUrbanInitiative; or by contacting Mr. Ervin at: [email protected].