Tee-ball success and impact on the community continues to grow
Despite what the name implies, it doesn’t come close to accurately describing the rapid success that Allison Auch is having, much less the motto she lives by, as the founder and executive director of Full STEAM Ahead, a youth nonprofit located here in Minot.
“Our mission is to provide cultural enrichment to the children of the Minot area through enjoyable, exciting and creative experiences with a focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics,” Auch tells the Minot Daily News.
Part of the excitement that they provide for the children involves a tee-ball league, which allows the children to participate at an age before they typically would join a league. Although its roots date back to 2015, Auch got involved in 2016 when the league was not scheduled to continue that summer, looking to keep the fun going.
Before committing to taking the reins of the tee-ball league, Auch spent time doing her research and talking to families around the area to make sure this was an opportunity that had potential. The potential, however, was greater than Auch imagined and showed signs of that immediately.
“The first year we had plans for a little over one hundred 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. 210 showed up to register and we have grown ever since. We also added 6-year-olds per family requests,” Auch said when discussing the league’s first season under her watch.
Games take place in the evening, with the season starting six weeks before the Fourth of July. Each team will play one game a week, spanning across a six-week season. Typically, each game will last between 30-45 minutes and the age groups are broken up into three- and four-year-olds and five- and six-year-olds. With the help of the community, each team has two volunteer coaches during the season.
After the initial success of the Full STEAM Ahead tee-ball league, the league’s growth and participation would continue to expand at a rapid pace. “The league quickly grew each year. It started in 2016 with 210 kids, and this season we had 600 kids and 54 teams,” she said.
Even though running a tee-ball league is a first for Auch, she has an extensive background in running a variety of activities that have all been successful, and eventually tying them together.
“In 2015, I co-started a youth theatre with Make a Scene Kids Theatre. After much success in 2016 with the league, I quickly connected the two and made the league a fundraiser for Make a Scene Kids Theatre. In 2017, Make a Scene Kids Theatre became part of the youth non-profit Full STEAM Ahead, which offers theatre, Lego robotics, coding, pottery, chess, percussion, and so much more,” Auch told the Minot Daily News.
Thanks to a sponsorship by the Minot Sertoma Club, the tee-ball league and its participants continually and increasingly provide rewarding benefits to the Minot community.
“In 2019 we brought on the Minot Sertoma Club as a league sponsor. The money raised from the league allows us to offer free and lower cost classes and camps to local families. If you look at other communities, they are charging hundreds of dollars for programs like these. Thanks to the Sertoma tee-ball league we can offer these for free or for a very reasonable price.”
At the end of each season, Auch likes to show appreciation for the volunteers, families, and players in the league by having an end of the season party. The party, which is free for those involved throughout the season, allows everyone to enjoy a variety of food and entertainment such as magicians, fire throwers, and a basketball stunt performer.
Getting everyone together for a celebration is Auch’s way of showing her gratitude to the volunteer coaches, families, and participants for supporting Full STEAM Ahead and for making the Sertoma tee-ball league such a success.
Ultimately, having children get together to socialize and play a team sport is just one of the benefits of the Full STEAM Ahead Sertoma tee-ball league. However, the benefits of the league and the money raised make an impact in the community that goes far beyond the baseball diamond.