Monday, April 2, 2012

Get Your Glove, It's Softball Season!!!

As volunteers, some of the projects we do are small and local -- conversation clubs, small summer camps, etc. They take a lot of effort, but they're confined to the community where you live. Other projects are national -- national summer camps, health trainings, sports leagues, etc. They span the regions of the country, involve many different volunteers and hundreds of host country nationals. Both types of projects come with their fair share of obstacles. For local projects, will you get community support? Will anyone show up? Where will you host the event? The questions and thus problems are endless.
Recently, I've been dealing with more of my national projects. Namely, the Azerbaijan Interregional Softball League and ABLE summer camp. These too come with some hindrances. Lots of strong-willed volunteers from different walks of life are working on the same project at the same time. Can everyone get along and see eye-to-eye? Where will we get funding from? Is the project sustainable? Yet again, the questions and thus problems are endless.

Softball is in complete transformation mode right now. The league expanded from 5 teams to 12 to 16 teams currently. A grant for over $9,600 was put online in December to pay for all travel costs. To date we've raise approximately $2,500. We've received numerous equipment donations and are currently distributing that stuff to the various teams. We've pursued many local funding opportunities in hopes of securing some league sponsors. We've also implemented team fees for the first time in the league's 7 year history, in hopes of encouraging personal investment in the league. After all, Peace Corps is not a charity and we, as volunteers, cannot cover the costs of every project we do. All in all, the softball team I work with has been doing a fantastic job and I am excited to see where the league goes from here.

Here is the link to our league website. We just released the 2012 spring season schedule. The league will be updated regularly with results from tournaments across the country. Enjoy!

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