St. Lawrence, NL, is notorious for its skilled soccer players. But recently a group of volunteers have been working hard to bring another sport to life in the historical town – softball.
The St. Lawrence Softball Committee is a group of volunteers with a shared vision of creating a safe, inclusive area for community members of all ages to participate in a softball league. To support this initiative, Eastern Health awarded the St. Lawrence Softball Committee with $4,000 from its 2014 Community Development Fund.
Last October, members of Eastern Health’s Board of Trustees, Shirley Rose and Barbara Cribb, joined Health Promotion Wellness Consultant Tammy Greening on a visit to St. Lawrence to present the group with their grant and learn more about the project and how it will contribute to a healthier community. At this meeting, Madonna Lundrigan, co-chair of the committee, and Andrea Edwards, secretary/treasurer of the committee, provided us with background on the need for an inclusive softball program in the town.
“Over the past few years, youth in our community have shown a greater interest in soft-ball and we see the value in giving children opportunities to explore their interests. This past year, we established our first boys’ team at the high school, while the girl’s team has been together for a few years,” said Madonna.
“We also noticed that a number of kids participating in softball were not involved in sports otherwise. Softball can be a sport for just about anyone and you don’t have to be overly athletic to enjoy it,” added Andrea.
“We decided to form our committee in the fall of 2013 when the high school girls’ softball team petitioned the Town of St. Lawrence to restore the existing softball field,” Andrea recalled. “The town was very supportive and is currently working as part of the committee to help create a safe, accessible field.”
Members from the town council sit on the committee, and share both Andrea’s and Madonna’s enthusiasm about a community softball league.
“We are excited about this as a Town,” said Jennifer Slaney, councillor with the Town of St. Lawrence. “There is a lot of community support for this initiative and we anticipate that it will blossom not only in St. Lawrence, but also for our neighbouring communities that do not have programs.”
Shirley Rose, a member of the Board of Directors, who was involved in the selection of this year’s Community Development Fund recipients, picked up on the group’s excitement and enthusiasm in their application.
“You could tell from the application that there was something very special about this group. One thing that really stuck out was how engaged students are in the project and how inclusive it would be of other members of the community. You could feel the excitement when you read through the application,” said Shirley.
Board Member Barbara Cribb was also further impressed with the initiative after learning more about the project, stating that “this exciting initiative will promote physical activity and socialization, which will improve health and well-being in St. Lawrence and neighboring communities.”
Needless to say – once launched, the St. Lawrence Softball League will be a knock-out!
The Community Development Fund, valued at $50,000, was established in 2007 by Eastern Health’s Board of Trustees. Since the first grants were awarded in 2008, over $340,000 has been invested in 45 community groups and organizations. ■
This story was written by Jackie O’Brien, director of Corporate Communications (acting) at Eastern Health