Mia Karapita, the new program and facilities director for Cayman Islands Little League, has big plans for her reign. As a volunteer previously, she saw the struggles and the frustrations firsthand. Now her mission is to get the organization rock solid and running smoothly. A Canadian, Karaptia has lived in the Cayman Islands for nearly six years. She is scheduled to be rolled over (obligated to leave the country after seven years due to immigration policy) in April of 2009, plenty of time, she says, to get the ship on course with a clear path laid out for the future.
‘In the past we seemed to run around in circles a lot,’ she said. ‘We had a few board members walk out last year because they were so frustrated and overworked. The people who are running the program right now are the same people who originally started the program in 1989. We need new blood and fresh ideas.’
Karaprita believes she can help provide those fresh ideas, thanks in part to her training in management accounting. ‘It’s not your typical desk accounting job,’ she explained. ‘It’s more of a consulting type of job. For example, if a company is red-lining and you need help, need goals, need organization. They would hire me. I would research the company and set out different goals and plans for them. That’s how I can really help Little League.’
Karaprita feels there is an immediate need for more focus and more structure. ‘Little League is not in deep trouble but they have difficulties in completing tasks. For example, when we would find volunteers in th past we didn’t have a structure to put them in. Everybody is so busy so that we would end up having the board members cleaning up the fields, doing maintenance on the field, coaching and running all the fundraisers. So it is really draining on the board members. The result is that we would get everything done that needed to be done but we were not able to develop the program further.
‘I really want Little League to have one goal. We seem to go off in different directions too often so I want us to focus on one big goal.’
Karaprita currently is interviewing board members and others to determine what that goal should be. ‘I’m not going to decide what it is. I’m just going to do the research and find out what we need to aim for.’
One thing that comes through loud and clear is Karaprita’s love for the sport and her belief in what it can do for young people.
‘I love Little League,’ she said. ‘This is a way to make exercise fun. First and foremost, it’s about having a good time. We also want to nurture those players who show exceptional talent. We have so much to offer here. The facility, for example, is fantastic. We want more people to know just how great this facility is.’
Karaprita does not seem naïve about what is sure to be a whirlwind year-and-a-half for her. Money woes, volunteer shortages, endless work to be done and the occasional grumpy parent do not intimidate her.
‘I love this. I’m up for the challenge. It’s so rewarding every day. It’s good that I get rolled over in April of 2009 because it gives me a specific timetable to work with. Once I get everything put into place, policies and procedures, Little League will be able to hire a manager to continue it. If I was rich and wanted to volunteer, this is exactly what I would do with my time.
‘As a kid, I played ball. I loved being on a team and playing. I love to see the sparkle in the kids’ eyes here. I was at a school speaking about baseball recently and a boy saw my shirt and said, ‘You’re from Little League?’ He was so excited to talk about baseball and Little League. That’s what it’s all about.’
For information about playing, sponsoring or volunteering, call Mia Karaprita at 916-5643 or email [email protected]