It’s that time of the year to take to the diamonds, but a lack of volunteers is shaping up as a threat to the South Woolwich Minor Baseball season.
The organization is once again looking for volunteers to coach teams, with the league currently at risk of not operating this year. With the season set to start on May 15, the league is still in need of 10 to 12 coaches so that each team can operate with one coach and one assistant.
“We have everything kind of set to go, but our coaches are all volunteers [and] we’re lacking volunteers. It’s kind of a common issue within the township,” said program director Azalea Carlaw.
Finding volunteers has always been a struggle, but the problem became more pronounced following the COVID-19 pandemic, Carlaw said.
“Every year we kind of struggle with trying to get volunteers to coach the children. Typically the season starts May 15 until about July 15, and they play one night a week for about two hours for the older kids and an hour and a half for the younger kids. But even more so we’ve found after COVID we’re kind of begging people to come out to fill those positions because obviously we can’t run if we don’t have coaches for the team,” said Carlaw, noting that there are around 220 kids registered to play this season.
South Woolwich Minor Baseball is the only option for kids who want to play baseball in the township. If the season does not run they will have to turn elsewhere, such as Kitchener or Waterloo in order to play, Carlaw explained.
“We kind of pride ourselves in we’re a non-profit organization. And so the baseball fees are minimal. And typically, if kids are going to the city, it’s a more competitive league, it’s not a recreational league. Alternatively, I guess they could go to the cities to play baseball, but as far as Woolwich this is the only league for baseball,” she said.
Carlaw is hoping that parents who already have kids playing in the league might be able to volunteer.
“We hope that if their child’s playing baseball obviously they have to get them to ball anyways, that perhaps they would step up into a coaching role.”
Delaying the season a week or two to see if more people step forward is not really an option, Carlaw added, noting that they might look to members of the league’s executive team to do double duty as coaches.
“Every year we’re looking for people to volunteer to coach. Additionally, we’re always looking for executive members to assist getting the season going. It’s primarily volunteers, so if we don’t have volunteers, then the league is at risk of not running,” she added.