Rochester Area Community Foundation is awarding $25,000 to the Lyons Community Center to help revitalize its youth baseball program.
This grant is among 20 supporting regional youth sports and recreation programs in the second grant round from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports. The grants, ranging from $5,970 to $25,000, will impact more than 5,000 youth and several dozen volunteer adult coaches.
LCC took over management of the baseball league in 2015. It worked to stabilize the loss of players and coaches, and improve the program. In 2017, a fall travel league was launched and this past year, winter skill-building sessions were offered.
The grant will support sending two staff to a national coaching conference, developing a mandatory training program for all coaches, creating a scholarship fund to support youth from families that are struggling financially, forming a used equipment sharing program across the county, purchasing an indoor batting cage to make skill-building available year-round and opening the training to surrounding communities.
The basis for these grants stems from the “State of Play: Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes” report released in 2017. Recommendations for focus included the need to make time for less-structured free play, exposing youth to a variety of sports, supporting community-based options and the importance of better training coaches.
“This round of grants creatively addresses many issues found in the ‘State of Play’ report, from converting existing space for new purposes and new youth audiences to organizing and energizing communities and neighborhoods, and encouraging coaches to incorporate social-emotional learning in their practices and workouts,” said Simeon Banister, vice president for community programs at RACF.