| Feb 14, 2008

Feature Article - February 14, 2008

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Letters - February 14, 2008 Sydenham Minor Softball:Norm Irwin Steps up to the Plate By Wilma Kenny

We have the parks, the ballfields, the equipment, the coaches and the players, but Sydenham Minor Softball is coming dangerously close to closing down this year, for lack of some volunteers willing to put in a few hours work in late March and early April. It’s the same old story: for years, the same group of folks have turned out every spring to register players, haul equipment out of storage and set up the season’s teams and schedules. Over the years, they’ve streamlined the jobs: forms and programs have been set up to deal with the paperwork, and because registration fees cover expenses, there are no more fundraising chores. But even the most dedicated volunteer looks forward to a change now and then.

That’s what’s happened with Sydenham Minor Softball: a recent poster announced that without a new president, treasurer, equipment manager and a few assistants, there would be no baseball in Sydenham for the 135 players whose teams competed with all the neighbouring villages last summer. "I couldn’t let it go by like that," says Norm Irwin, who has agreed to chair the volunteer committee. "Baseball’s a great game: it develops hand/eye coordination, teaches strategy and teamwork, and is just plain fun. Kids don’t get to play it at school any more: the summer program’s their only chance."

Norm has someone lined up to manage the equipment, but still needs volunteers to help with registration, basic bookkeeping and scheduling. It’s not a summer-long commitment: most of the work is done in late March and early April. Information is prepared and sent out to the schools and posted in the village. Registration takes up one Wednesday evening and one Saturday. Once registration is complete, the summer’s schedules are drawn up, and the coaches take it from there. End-of-season wrap-up takes even less time. As mentioned, there’s no fund-raising grind. The more volunteers Norm gets, the less work for everyone. This would be a good opportunity for a high school student to clock up some volunteer hours.

Why do you live in or near Sydenham? The township water system? Perhaps. Or maybe you’re attracted to the idea of being part of a small community, somewhere you can get to know the folks in the stores and along the street. But if you work in Kingston, it’s not always easy to find a way to fit in. Volunteering is a great way to get to know your neighbours. You don’t have to be a ballplayer or have one in the family to lend a hand here, though it does help if you would like to see Sydenham continue to be a place where there’s a variety of things for kids to do in the summer.

For more information, call Norm Irwin: 613-376-6558.

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