Although rain has put a damper on much of the spring, summer is just around the corner and that means children young and old will be lacing up their cleats and digging gloves out of closets in anticipation of another season of youth baseball.
To help get the fledgling season off on the right foot, Ryan Chevrolet made a $500 donation to the Minot Recreation Commission's youth baseball program last week, with the possibility of that total becoming much larger.
"I'm very excited to announce that Ryan Chevrolet is part of the Chevy Youth Baseball Program this year. We were given the opportunity to bring this program to Minot, North Dakota, and we were very eager in accepting the opportunity," said Kathy Gaddie, owner of Ryan Chevrolet. "It means an awful lot for Minot and for these wonderful kids that are going to be involved in the rec program this summer with youth baseball."
Dan Feldner/MDN - - Minot Recreation Commission recreation coordinator Ann Nesheim, center, accompanied by children involved in Minot’s youth baseball program, accepts a check for $500 at Ryan Chevrolet.
Dan Feldner/MDN - - Front row, from left, are Ethan Benham, Aaron Sandy, Minot Recreation Commission recreation coordinator Ann Nesheim, Annika Henjum, Dalton Walker and Hudson Francis. Back row are Carson Erickson, left, and Keegan Henjum.
Gaddie said there are two elements to the program. The first was bringing a Ripken baseball clinic to Minot on May 17, which gave 200 children the chance to participate. The free clinic offered children fundamental training from experienced instructors, according to the Chevy Youth Baseball Web site.
The second part of the program is a raffle with a big grand prize. All proceeds will go to the Minot Recreation Commission's youth baseball program.
"The possibility is to be able to raise $10,000 for that organization," Gaddie said.
There will be up to 2,000 raffle tickets sold, each one costing $5. The grand prize for the entire north-central region will be either a new Chevrolet Cruz compact car or Chevrolet Equinox crossover SUV. The West Dakota Chevy Dealers will also be giving away a flat-screen TV to one lucky winner.
"And then Ryan Chevrolet wanted to make sure we had a local winner, so we have donated a $400, either gas card or a shopping spree card for the winner to use," Gaddie said.
The drawing will be held around Aug. 22, and all the raffle tickets must be turned in by July 31. As an added bonus, each raffle ticket will also be good for a free car wash at Ryan Chevrolet.
Ann Nesheim, recreation coordinator for the Minot Recreation Commission, was appreciative of having Minot youth baseball involved in the program.
"I would just like to thank Ryan Chevrolet and Chevy Youth Baseball for including us in this great partnership of trying to raise money to improve our baseball in Minot," Nesheim said.
Depending on how much money is raised by the raffle, Nesheim said there are any number of things they can do to improve their complexes and equipment.
"Anything that we can do that will directly affect these hundreds of kids playing baseball in Minot. So I would also like to say thank you on behalf of them," Nesheim said. "We have a few of them here, but there's hundreds, if not thousands of kids that play baseball in Minot, and I know that they're going to all be very excited about participating in this program, so thank you very much."
Speaking of equipment, Gaddie noted Chevrolet is donating quite a bit of it to the Minot youth league on top of the money raised by the raffle.
"All of this is because of Chevrolet. (We) consider Chevrolet America's brand, we consider baseball America's pastime, so what a marriage we have here," Gaddie said. "We're very excited, because anytime you help kids, everybody wins."