With February 14th in mind, ExchangeMyPhone has written this Valentine series for ioby highlighting a handful of people and organizations that perform labors of love for the borough’s wellbeing. ExchangeMyPhone is a website for anyone to sell (or recycle) their old phones and their blog is full of local, and global, green innovation stories.
Last Spring, the Red Hook Youth Baseball League celebrated its 14th birthday, which officially makes the initiative older than most of its players! The league was established by a partnership between the Red Hook Community Justice Center and their neighbors in response to concerns over a lack of extra curricular athletic programs for the local youth. The league has also doubled as a meeting ground for families (the players and their parents) and local law enforcement, who often act as volunteer coaches, which has strengthened community relations from a grassroots, interpersonal level.
On any given Saturday in the springtime, more than 150 boys and girls, dozens of community volunteers and parents fill Red Hook baseball diamonds and stands. The League is still about more than balls and strikes; everyone involved works to instill the young ballplayers with high standards of sportsmanship, leadership and respect. The philosophy of the league is to provide Red Hook youth with structured, competitive baseball, while at the same time encouraging their continued success in school and supporting them to become contributing members of the community.
Consistency is really the name of the game, and many of the coaches and players return season after season because of the meaningful relationships built on the field. For example, Brett Taylor will be coaching his 14th season this spring. Brett got involved with the League when he was a public defense attorney working with the Legal Aid Society at the Community Justice Center, and his team has fittingly always been called The Defenders. Individuals like Brett, and their enduring commitment to the league, are a testament to idea that a stable sense of community is valuable to everyone, not just the young players.