Pouchie returns to lead Little League into 25th year

At the recent annual general meeting, local Little League supporters gathered and re-elected the same board for the Cayman Islands Little League Association. Jeff Pouchie was kept at the helm for another term and two new positions were added as Jonathan Dacosta and Paul Reynolds came onboard. Both have been coaches for a number of years.

Aside from Pouchie, the other board members are John Cridland – vice president, Richard Finlay – secretary, Jason Bechard – treasurer, Tayna Dube – fundraising, Rob Harris – baseball commisioner, Sara Mackay – marketing and public relations, Andrew Holness – director at large and Alan Markoff – adult co-ed program coordinator.

Turnout included several original founders, current older players, along with coaches and parents. About 400 children and more than 500 adults play weekly at the Field of Dreams during a given season. Focus has always been on kids and giving many the opportunity to learn and play with uniforms and experience being valued over trophies. Little League in Cayman started in 1989 and games were first played on the Field of Dreams facility in 1998.

In his president’s report, Pouchie was positive and appreciative; thanking the sponsors, coaches, volunteers, parents, players and especially umpires. A well-organized season with no major incidents was chief among the year’s accomplishments of the still free for kids program. He acknowledged the association is facing the challenge of worn field surfaces. A sample of the field turf in its original state was a shocking example of how worn the fields surfaces are today.

Other goals included increasing use of the clubhouse, enhanced training for local coaches and more emphasis on travel teams.

Up-to-date audited accounts were presented, with KPMG thanked for their pro-bono 2012 audit. In Bechard’s report, despite strong sponsor support for teams, the association faces challenging financial times in an increasingly difficult fundraising scene.

Bechard’s breakdown of revenue by percentages and expenditure by amounts in categories helped make the picture clear. The need to develop a long-term plan to renovate the fields and a capital fundraising program or alternate capital generating activity are primary concerns.

Harris credited team parity in all divisions, producing a competitive and fun season. In one division, there was the story of a team that never won a game in the regular season but went on to sweep the end-of-season playoffs.

A smooth and successful season was mentioned by multiple board members, from Cridland speaking about the girls program to program director LaToya McField, who worked with sponsors, dedicated division co-ordinators and coaches.

Markoff reported two seasons of a healthy coed adult program. The fall season is nearing completion as the playoffs reach a climax and the upcoming winter season will see a revival of the ‘D’ division, for new-to-the game and those less competitive souls. The “captains meeting” for the next winter season is scheduled for Jan. 8, with games starting Jan. 20.

Dube thanked all who sold or bought raffle tickets and discount cards, reporting a very successful raffle and discount card program though fundraising revenues, in general, are down.

Last year saw increased newspaper coverage of ball games, with credit going to division coordinators and special mention was made of Alero Abrams and Matthew Yates. Thanks were expressed to Kirk Freeport and Rolex for their many years of support via terrific golf tournaments.

Mackay reported on dialogue with Leadership Cayman, submissions to government recognition schemes like ‘Heroes Day, Youth Services and Proud of Them, building relationships with new entities on island, plans to renew advertising on the outfield fences signs and the need to improve use of social media.

The suggestion of a “reunion play day” was well received, as was mention of a fundraising kickball tournament fundraiser in early January.

Registration is now open for the 2014 campaign, which will mark Little League’s 25th season in existence. Catering to kids ages 5-16 at no charge, registration can be done online or at the Field of Dreams.

Player evaluation sessions are scheduled for three dates in December, with final two dates in early January. The season runs from January until early June.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 916-5643.