AVLBL Changes for 2016 Season
Dear Amwell Valley Baseball Family:
While we are a long way from heading out onto the baseball field for a new season, the time has come to begin thinking about registration for the 2016 season. As a result, the time has also come to announce a significant change to AVLBL for the upcoming year. In late November, the Board of Directors of AVLBL and Flemington Raritan Baseball each voted to accept the terms of a provisional merger between the two leagues for the upcoming season. Additionally, AVLBL's softball program will follow baseball in provisionally merging with Flemington Raritan Softball.
Given the long history of AVLBL in our community, it is important to note that this decision was not entered into lightly. Many discussions were held during the past eighteen to twenty-four months at a Board level, as well as with the Members of other local leagues. Our desire was, first and foremost, to make a decision in the best interest of the children and families in our community, both now and for the future.
As many of you have surely noticed, participation in rec sports has decreased in recent years; AVLBL has not been immune to such decreases. During the 2015 rec season, our numbers decreased such that we fielded only two teams at the PeeWee, Minors and Majors levels for baseball, and only one softball team (Majors). For the tournament teams, we once again were in a position of needing players to play at multiple age levels in order to field complete teams, and we did not field a team at the 9u level. Along with a decreased number of participants on the field, the number of parents available to volunteer in coaching and event capacities has also dwindled. The result of this is that a smaller number of people are asked to take on a greater number of responsibilities, as league administration does not decrease with fewer participants.
For the upcoming 2016 season, our expectation of the number of participants is not largely different from what we saw last season, though it is likely a smaller number. Forming multiple teams for the rec season looks to be difficult at the younger levels, and forming tournament teams below 11u also looks to be a challenge. As a result, the Board felt immediate action was in the best interest of the participants as a whole. For a number of reasons, including the need for a decision prior to year-end, FRB became the best fit. To be clear, the Board recognizes that there are reasons why other local leagues, including DTAA and Lambertville, make sense for a merger. This was taken into consideration during the process. Even still, FRB proved to be the best partner for Amwell Valley at this time for reason such as the facilities, size of the league, player development, opportunities for increased on-field play, opportunities to play alongside children that are in the Hunterdon Central school district, and so on.
The AVLBL Board worked closely with the FRB Board to ensure the smoothest transition possible for our league participants, as well as to ensure that Amwell Valley has a voice as we integrate into the league. As part of the merger, AVLBL has been given five (of twenty) seats on the FRB Board. AVLBL will also receive a seat on the Flemington Raritan Softball Board of Directors for the same reason. FRB has also loosened some of their restrictions on AVLBL players for purposes of tournament/travel teams (for 2016). Though the 10u, 11u and 12u tournament teams have already been chosen for FRB's upcoming season, the Board worked to ensure that postseason play will remain an option for those participants moving over from AVLBL. Another positive development is the assurances that FRB will work to cluster AVLBL players on teams so that instances of one AV child on a team with FRB children should not happen. Additionally, the AVLBL Board has made a decision to ensure that the move to FRB is not a burden financially for the Amwell Valley community. As such, Amwell Valley will be refunding the difference between the FRB rec registration fees and the 2015 AVLBL registration fees to each participant from AVLBL. Lastly, the agreement will remain provisional for the 2016 season, rather than becoming permanent immediately. At the conclusion of the season, a decision on whether to make the merger permanent or seek other alternatives will be made.
Within the next week a message will be distributed by FRB announcing the merger more widely, as well as to announce the opening of registration for this upcoming season. The message will also be communicated to you via AVLBL. For those interested in participating in postseason/tournament play, early registration is important. Please be on the lookout for this email so that your child does not miss out on participation. A link will also be posted on the AVLBL website (avlbl.org) redirecting you to the registration website.
In closing, I want to thank you for supporting us and allowing us to serve you through the league. While few will remember the outcome of most games, the impact that can be had on a child through their participation in youth team sports is surpassed by few things. To be a part of a group working to ensure the best possible experience for the children of our community during their time in Amwell Valley Baseball is truly a joy and a privilege.
On behalf of the AVLBL Board, I wish you a blessed holiday season and a wonderful new year.
Fall Sports Registration Links
We hope your summer has been enjoyable. As we head into the new school year and Fall sports season, we wanted to provide you with links to some already known local offerings for Fall sports, as well as two newer offerings that you may not be aware of. Best wishes for a great Fall and a successful 2015-2016 school year!
Athletes in Action Flag Football (see attached brochure) - runs on Tuesdays and Saturday mornings from mid-September through mid-November at EATS; open to boys and girls ages 5-14; will include guest appearances by professional and college players; leaguelineup.com/aiaflagfootball
Highsticks Field Hockey (see attached brochure) - runs and Thursdays and Sunday mornings from September 10 through October 29 at EATS and South Hunterdon H.S.; open to players in grades 3-6; run by former college players, assistant coaches currently playing at college and high school levels
South County Soccer League - runs from mid-September through late November
Flemington-Raritan Baseball - runs from September through October
Please consider giving a tax deductible, cash donation to the Amwell Valley Little Baseball League. The league needs funds to continue to offer a high quality program for our children. Click here to use our online form to submit donations.
AVLBL needs your sponsorship! Sponsorship provides funding for field maintenance, team supplies, umpires and the AVLBL picnic to name a few. Click here to view the many ways you can support AVLBL and promote your business. Please contact email@example.com to assist with questions.
AVLBL Board Members for 2016
President- Chris Thompson
Vice-President - Jim Sutton
Secretary - Chris Kellogg
Treasurer (interim) - Chris Thompson
Webmaster (interim) - Chris Thompson
Tournament Scheduler - Chris Thompson
Tournament Coordinator - Rick Monus
Fields & Maintenance - Dean Heide & Josh Bousum
Equipment & Uniforms - David Osborne & Jim Sutton
Sponsorship - Dean Heide
Snack Shack Coordinator - Sara Monus
Volunteer Coordinator - Chris Thompson
Township Liason - Tim Matthews
A special thank you goes out to departing board members Jeff Graycar, Clint Mundy and Dave Rosner. Their years of service are very appreciated.
AVLBL is recommending the following safety equipment:
- Protective Athletic Cup
- Sternum Protector / Heart Guard
- Mouth Guard
- Batting Helmut with Face Mask
- Baseball cleats
We would be delighted to receive interest from any parent who can lend a hand.