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Not for Profit: American Legion Youth Softball Program

May 3, 2009 — Batter up! The American Legion Viggo E. Sewer Post 131's youth softball program needs more players.
"We could have a real good league if we had more teams," softball coach Preston Pollock says as he offers pitching guidance to the St. John youths on hand for a recent practice.
While Pollock's children are long grown up, fellow coach Cindy Rutnik has two in the American Legion's programs: Christian, 7, and Jessica, 4. Why did Rutnik get involved?
"We need organized sports on St. John," she explains.
The program also needs more coaches like Pollock and Rutnik.
"Volunteers are gladly accepted," says American Legion organizer Paul Devine.
Youths ages 9 to 14 practice and play softball at 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the V.I. National Park ballfield, located next to the park's Visitors' Center. Devine says that currently 18 youths participate.
The American Legion also has a T-ball program for children ages 4 to 8, but with 37 children involved playing what is essentially beginners softball, there are already enough youths for several teams. The T-ball program takes place at 4 p.m. Tuesdays at the park ballfield.
While the children are obviously having a good time, the games are a big hit with the parents, who gather under the trees to socialize before the games start.
"You get to meet people and see people you might never see, and your kids learn to work with others," says parent Michelle Wichlund.
She was there with children Walker, 8, who was getting ready to play softball, and T-ball player Quinn, 6.
Once their kids take to the field, the parents are in the bleachers cheering them on.
"It's a positive way to bring kids together," parent Nancy Schutt says. "They need the exercise and to play sports."
Schutt's daughter, Lily, 6, is a T-ball player, but Schutt was on hand last week to cheer on the softball players.
Lily, busy climbing on the jungle gym next to the ballfield, says this was her first time out playing.
"I'm learning more," she says.
Dorothy Muilenberg, who came to see what the program was about before she enrolled her grandchildren, pointed out that many St. John children live in isolated locations. The program gives them a chance to meet other kids, she says.
Joe Palminteri has son Michael, 8, in softball and son Charlie, 6, in T-ball. Palminteri and several other parents see the program as a boon because it gives their children a chance to play organized sports.
And several children gave the program high marks for helping them play better softball or T-ball.
"And it's fun," Michael Palminteri says, echoing the remarks of most of the youths.
For more information, call Devine at 693-9410 or 514-6615.
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May 3, 2009 -- Batter up! The American Legion Viggo E. Sewer Post 131's youth softball program needs more players.
"We could have a real good league if we had more teams," softball coach Preston Pollock says as he offers pitching guidance to the St. John youths on hand for a recent practice.
While Pollock's children are long grown up, fellow coach Cindy Rutnik has two in the American Legion's programs: Christian, 7, and Jessica, 4. Why did Rutnik get involved?
"We need organized sports on St. John," she explains.
The program also needs more coaches like Pollock and Rutnik.
"Volunteers are gladly accepted," says American Legion organizer Paul Devine.
Youths ages 9 to 14 practice and play softball at 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the V.I. National Park ballfield, located next to the park's Visitors' Center. Devine says that currently 18 youths participate.
The American Legion also has a T-ball program for children ages 4 to 8, but with 37 children involved playing what is essentially beginners softball, there are already enough youths for several teams. The T-ball program takes place at 4 p.m. Tuesdays at the park ballfield.
While the children are obviously having a good time, the games are a big hit with the parents, who gather under the trees to socialize before the games start.
"You get to meet people and see people you might never see, and your kids learn to work with others," says parent Michelle Wichlund.
She was there with children Walker, 8, who was getting ready to play softball, and T-ball player Quinn, 6.
Once their kids take to the field, the parents are in the bleachers cheering them on.
"It's a positive way to bring kids together," parent Nancy Schutt says. "They need the exercise and to play sports."
Schutt's daughter, Lily, 6, is a T-ball player, but Schutt was on hand last week to cheer on the softball players.
Lily, busy climbing on the jungle gym next to the ballfield, says this was her first time out playing.
"I'm learning more," she says.
Dorothy Muilenberg, who came to see what the program was about before she enrolled her grandchildren, pointed out that many St. John children live in isolated locations. The program gives them a chance to meet other kids, she says.
Joe Palminteri has son Michael, 8, in softball and son Charlie, 6, in T-ball. Palminteri and several other parents see the program as a boon because it gives their children a chance to play organized sports.
And several children gave the program high marks for helping them play better softball or T-ball.
"And it's fun," Michael Palminteri says, echoing the remarks of most of the youths.
For more information, call Devine at 693-9410 or 514-6615.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.