By Bill Toscano
Local families will have to pay more for their children to participate in baseball and softball and will also be required to sell a specific number of raffle tickets as well.
Whitehall Youth League President John Hoagland said the changes are a result of the elimination of coin-drop collections, which accounted for one-third of the league’s annual budget.
This year’s fee will be $30 per child, and there will be no family cap. Families must pay $30 for each player, and each player must sell 40 raffle tickets as well. The league has had raffles in the past, but has never required a certain number of tickets to be sold.
“Other leagues do that, but we have not had to until now,” Hoagland said. “Not having the coin drops really hurts.”
Following a complaint about another group’s coin drop last fall, local officials banned the practice, which was used for raising funds for the Youth League, American Legion and local fire companies.
Hoagland said that the league’s recent request for required state permission for the in-road coin collections was turned down last week by Department of Transportation officials.
“The coin drops themselves are not illegal, but obstructing traffic is, so the state will not give permission, because that would imply liability,” Hoagland said. “We had a couple of people come to our meeting last week, and we have some ideas, but the one thing we are going to have to do is mandate selling the raffle tickets.”
The league will hold its first baseball registration from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Whitehall Recreation Center and will have another session Tuesday, March 1, also 6 to 8 p.m.
For further information, contact Hoagland at 499-1559 or Ed Rehm at 499-0765.
The fee, along with sponsorships from local businesses, provides a cap and T-shirt for each player, along with umpires, field maintenance and equipment.
The main difference this year is that participants will receive 40 raffle tickets and will have to sell those tickets. Raffle tickets will cost $3 each or will be four for $10.
The top prize is the choice of $750 or a set of Telescope Casual lawn furniture. Second place gets whichever prize the winner does not choose and third-place gets $250.
“We have had the raffle in the past, but we have never had to require people to see the tickets before,” Hoagland said.
Other fundraising is ongoing. Hoagland said the league is considering selling a booster card and will hold a softball tournament to raise funds.
Hoagland said the league does want to remain open to all youths in grades 3-6 and does not want children to miss out because their families cannot afford the registration fee. He said that those who know of such families should contact league officials.