Little League Auction vital to thriving program

The Cayman Islands Little League Association is gearing up for their annual auction, its most important fundraising event. Set for 24 March, the effort is seen by organizers as crucial to the League’s continued success. The Association’s debt from the construction of its four-field facility in George Town is some $500,000 and needs to be paid, so fundraising is as important as ever, says Sara Mackay, a longtime volunteer. She is hopeful that the Cayman Islands community will support the auction as it has in past years. Mackay has plenty of reason to be optimistic after Saturday’s round of practice games which saw a huge turnout of smiling children and supportive parents. There is also the small army of volunteers who make it all work.

Cayman Islands Little League

For more than 15 years, Cayman Islands Little League has provided free participation for hundreds of Caymanian children. Photos: Guy P. Harrison

‘The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well at the Field of Dreams,’ Mackay said. ‘Little League has enjoyed tremendous corporate support for teams and the auction over the years. It’s still about the kids. We haven’t lost our way in 16 years. Despite the debt dragging on this long, it was still the right thing to do, to borrow the funds and build the Field of Dreams. Little League has remained true to keeping the kids programs our focus, keeping it free for all. I would just be so nice to be debt free to let the program go to another level.’

As in previous years, there will be many unique items up on the block as well as numerous bargains. Those who attend will have the opportunity to take home great buys, says Mackay. Although everything from

Despite many years of involvement with Little League, Mackay still feels the magic of a Saturday when she hears the crack of the bat followed by the screams of proud parents.

‘The good facility, all those little kids playing, all those people coaching and cheering, it is kind of a dream come true,’ she said.

Mackay says it is important to understand that the cause for the League’s success is not only due to the spirit of the people involved. It is also derived from plenty of practical and tangible elements as well. Things like fences, turf, bathrooms, a canteen and bleachers all add up to make the positive experience possible. She also mentioned that the Fields of Dreams facility is used regularly by adult baseball leagues and other sports as well.

But it’s not easy, adds Mackay. It takes money and that’s why the annual auction so important.

‘We try hard to make the auction both a fun and glamorous evening,’ she said. ‘It’s a blast for everyone, especially the sports aficionados.’

The auctions always include items that raise the pulse of sports fans. This year, for example, an autographed Peyton Manning jersey is up for grabs as are many other hot sports items.

But the goods for sale will be diverse as organizers have attempted to make sure there is something to catch everyone’s eye. Kirk Freeport, for example, always a big supporter, has committed several thousand dollars worth of product from their various lines, including LLadro and Waterford.

Other items to be auctioned off include: a Paul McCartney autographed guitar, items or photographs autographed by Louis Armstrong, Queen, Peter, Paul and Mary, Elvis, Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Neil Armstrong, Payne Stewart, Babe Dickerson Zakarias, Gretzky, Ti Domi, Mickey Mantle, A-Rod, Tiki Barber and George Best.

Auction organizers are still looking for donations and can always use help in other ways.

Attendance is by tables of ten is $600 per table.