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Little League ready for new season and changes

January 29, 2014
By Rick Loughrey , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Fort Myers Beach Little League is about to embark on its 55th year on the Beach. We chartered with Little League International in 1959, an organization that is now in its 75th year. Little League International has 2.4 million participants in 7,000 communities, serving 80 countries worldwide. It has more than one million volunteers working at local Little Leagues like ours.

Boys and girls ages 4-18 have the opportunity to learn and play ball. We teach such things as discipline, team work and volunteerism. Our group of coaches and volunteers are hand-picked by our board to be the best role models for our children.

Our hard work and dedication has recently prospered some excellent teams. Our senior girls have brought home several All-star banners in the past years including last year's district and sectional champions. Our senior boys combined team last year won the districts and were runners-up in the sectionals. That will mean adding three more All-star banners to our field this year.

All this would not be accomplished without the support of our community. Our volunteers worked hard to raise money through several events. We parked cars for the Sandsculpting Competition in November at Santini Marina Plaza, thanks to the plaza manager and Fort Myers Beach Little League Board Member Al Durrett. Our league joined forces with Paula Kiker and Steve DeAngelis, coordinators of the Put Pub and Crawl. Thanks to both of them, all the participating businesses, raffle donators and players for your generous support. Another thank you goes out to the Nick Adenhart Foundation for your grant and your continuing commitment to youth baseball. And a special thank you to those who do not want to make it publicly known and have donated anonymously.

Our community has welcomed and supported us for 55 years and counting. Without the help from our local community our Little League could not survive. We do not receive any support from Little League International or any government entity. Our soul supply of funds is from our registrations and our community support.

Our league has never turned a child away due to cost. We supply all the equipment needed for the children to play safe. Insurance, league fees, tournament fees, scholarships and awards are also all covered by our league.

For the past few years we have been saving to purchase several large items. Our scoreboards are being replaced with the help from the Town of Fort Myers Beach. We are installing batting stations and foul ball nets on both fields and 75% of our current equipment is in need of replacement and being replaced. Ashmore and Associates are currently working on our drawings for covered bleachers.

Our league will kick off its opening day Feb. 22. We will do our best to make you proud of our children. We will make them good sportsman and fine leaders. Please come down to our beautiful fields and enjoy watching our children learn and grow. Continue supporting our league so that we may work to instill positive values in the children of our community.

Thanks to everyone in our community for supporting our youth and this important program.

--RIck Loughrey is president of the Fort Myers Beach Little League league



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