By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Youth Baseball Association initiated a new fund-raising activity for A, B, and C leagues and the Babe Ruth League for the year 2000.
"The cost to play the game is going up that the former fees don't cover," said Gordy Thompson, HYBA board member.
The fee for A, B, and C leagues was $25 and the board added a fund-raising activity of selling raffle tickets for $25 per packet. The parents had to pay $50 up front in fees. The fees increased from $45 to $60 for Babe Ruth Leagues.
The four leagues allow more than 200 youths an opportunity to play baseball.
"This was a way of implementing a fund-raising system," Thompson said. "It was something that has never been done before. If the raffle tickets get sold, the $25 is reimbursed to the parent."
One misconception the board felt it needed to address was the use of the extra money. It does not all go toward the Legion Baseball program, the Havre Northstars.
"Legion parents organize their own fund-raising activities to support their program," Thompson said.
While the city aids in the upkeep of the baseball fields, the HYBA provides its own equipment, covers insurance costs, and makes improvements on the fields as needed, Thompson said.
"It is important to make the fields safe to use," Thompson said. "We need money now to improve those fields in the future."
Lions Park is receiving improvements currently, and Optimist Park is on the agenda in the future.
The HYBA receives no outside funding, so the only money available for use is the money raised through fund-raising techniques, said Bob Evans, assistant coach of the Northstars.
"It is important to keep a strong program," Evans said, pointing out that at least 10 Havre High graduates are currently playing baseball at the college level.
"We are proud of that," Evans said. "The little league programs here provide an opportunity for the kids to go to the next level."
A child would never be turned away from the program due to lack of funds, Thompson said.
"We have given scholarships before," he said. "We have never turned anybody away."
Youths can still sign up at City Hall to play baseball this summer, Evans said.