CALDWELL, NJ — A group of Caldwell parents have started a campaign to create a Little League Program in the Caldwells and surrounding towns, including Roseland, Essex Fells and Fairfield.
Originally started by resident B.J. Kurus, the group has begun the process of advertising this program and gaining support from residents in the Caldwells and neighboring towns.
Currently, the Caldwell-West Caldwell Recreation Department, which serves both Caldwell and West Caldwell, has an existing recreation baseball league and individual travel baseball teams. However, many parents are not satisfied with the program for various reasons, according to Kurus.
He said children who do not make the traveling team are then placed on a recreation team, which is set up more like a baseball clinic. Kurus also noted that the teams then meet only once or twice a week for five weeks and only play in about five games.
"The parents are looking to start a little league to provide a more hearty and robust league with more opportunity for kids to participate than what is offered now and one that is more equitable for the kids that don't make the travel teams,” he said. “A great thing about Little League is that it is for everyone—no one's discriminated against, especially for their ability to play baseball.”
Over the past few months, the parents have been meeting to discuss the chartering process and how the Little League program would be organized. The first step was determining how many children would be interested and how the teams would be broken down.
"The Little League offers nine different divisions of play in their organization which range from young kids at 4, 5, 6, and 7 years old up to kids in high school at around 17 and 18 years old, including baseball for boys and girls, as well as girls’ softball and a Challenger division for special needs children that ranges from younger to older participants," said Kurus. "In our case, our parents may try to focus on the younger groups of boys and girls, and the Challenger division. We plan on starting small with a group of younger kids, with enough participants to establish a Little League, with the hopes that each year after we can build a little more than the year before."
Initially, Kurus said the Little League program was intended to include children from the Caldwells and Roseland, but after many parents from other towns expressed interest, it was decided that the program would include Fairfield and Essex Fells as well.
Although the program is still on the beginning stages, the parents have already begun the chartering process, which involves various steps. They also have not decided where the teams would practice or who would serve on the Little League board, but many parents have come forward and expressed interest in helping out.
"I have over 200 supporters in the Caldwell Little League Campaign Facebook group I started in September 2016,” said Kurus. “I have another 25 supporters who are not on Facebook but I have contacted me through email. Then there are people around town that tell me in passing that they support our campaign. A few councilmen from Caldwell also support our efforts.”
Anyone interested in supporting this program or looking to find out more information can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or request to join the Caldwell Little League Campaign Facebook group.
Kurus has also created a survey to poll the number of individuals interested in the program, which could start as early as 2017. Click HERE to take the survey.