Kristan Green and Kaci Smith, representatives of the Dixie Youth Baseball, spoke to the Kiwanis Club, Tuesday, April 12th. Kristan Green became involved in Dixie Youth when her son began playing at 4 years old. She has been on the board for 6 years. Boys Dixie Youth began in 1955 and girls began in 1972. It is now in 11 states in the south. The boys and girls learn life skills from being team members. There are also scholarships available to those who participate. In the future, the local board would like to be able to offer a local scholarship.
This is strictly a volunteer organization with around 15 volunteers mostly parents and other interested people. It is financially independent of the city. Dixie Youth is responsible for teams and games and the city is responsible for the fields at the recreation center and across the road. The boys play at the recreation center fields and the girls play across the road. The fee for players is $60 per player. This year they have 290 players which is up from last year. The jerseys are paid for by the sponsors of the teams of which Kiwanis is one. Money raised from the concession stand goes to pay scorekeepers, umpires and concession stand workers. It does not make money but they are able to sustain the program. Tarps to cover the fields during rains to prevent rainout games have been requested from the city but have not gotten them. At this point, the volunteers have made their own tarps for some areas. They are also raising money for new electronic scoreboards. Each scoreboard cost about $4000.
Kaci Smith said that parents are wanting their children involved and they encourage parish wide participation. There are health benefits to playing team sports including less obesity (our state has a 38.1% obesity rate in children), mental health benefits and making new friends. The sport teaches kids how to learn from their mistakes and how to be a good loser. There is good community participation this year. Most coaches are parents and dads are running the field crews. The biggest need is field help. They would also like to have more participation from girls.
Sheriff Jordan supplied trustees to help prepare the fields for Opening Day. They have boys and girls teams. These games add money to the city with the sales tax that people pay when they go to the store or out to eat before or after a game.
There is a portion of the city sales tax that is dedicated to recreation. There needs to be a cooperative agreement between the city and Dixie Youth. If the fields and buildings were better maintained Winnfield might be able to host weekend tournaments that bring money into the town.
There have been requests for soccer once baseball is over. That is something that is being considered. It is much less labor intensive than baseball.