The Rotary Club of the Caldwells has issued a matching donation challenge to the community to help build new softball dugouts for the Varsity Field.
Rotary has pledged a gift to the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education for half the cost of constructing new dugouts, up to $20,000, if other members of the community donate the balance. A group of local coaches, parents and supporters have formed "Friends of Caldwell Softball" to lead the fundraising efforts needed to meet the challenge.
The softball dugouts, which have been substandard for years, according to a press release issued by the Rotary, are used not only by the high school teams, but also by the Caldwell and West Caldwell T-ball teams, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade recreation teams, and 10 year & under, 12U, and 14U travel teams. That's hundreds of girls in the softball program every year.
Unlike the baseball dugouts, the existing softball dugouts have no roofs, walls or floors. The new dugouts will have roofs for protection from the sun, rain and fly balls, as well as cement floors so the girls are not sitting with their feet and equipment in puddles when it rains. They will be something the community can be proud of, according to the Rotary.
Friends of Caldwell Softball has already made an initial donation of $1,000 to the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education. The money was used to fund a required topographical study of the field and an architect’s rendering of new dugouts.
While anyone wishing to host a fundraiser to help meet the Rotary Community Challenge is encouraged to do so, "Friends of Caldwell Softball" has begun accepting donations and selling engraved pavers to raise money. The 6" x 9" pavers can be personalized with up to four lines of text with 16 characters per line. They will be installed on the walkway leading to the field's bleachers. The cost of an engraved paver is $150. Donations of any amount are welcome and every dollar donated will help. Gifts can be made on line at www.dugouts.eventbrite.com or mailed to Friends of Caldwell Softball, c/o Valley National Bank, 15 Roseland Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006.
Gifts $500 and over will be considered sponsorships and will be commemorated with an inscription on a plaque to be hung on the dugouts. Local businesses and organizations that wish to show their support as sponsors will be recognized. "Friends of Caldwell Softball" has secured a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fiscal sponsor, so all gifts may be considered charitable contributions. For more information, please email Thefriendsofcaldwellsoftball@gmail.com.
The Rotary Club of the Caldwells has a long heritage of community service projects both locally and internationally. In recent years, RCC donated a , which was constructed at the Caldwell Community Center, helped the West Essex First Aid Squad purchase a new ambulance and emergency equipment, donated thousands of dollars to the Caldwell Food Pantry to help local families, and funded an examination room at Caldwell College's Autism Center. In it's continued commitment to youth development, Rotary provides scholarships, long and short-term international exchange opportunities, and hosts a Rotary Youth Leadership Award program, preparing students for their roles as tomorrow's leaders.
Rotary's commitment to local youth continues with their gift to the athletes in the Caldwell-West Caldwell softball program. "Our club's members recognize the importance of athletics in leadership and teamwork development and in building the confidence needed to face any challenge that life presents," said Christy Berg, Vice President. "The Rotary Club of the Caldwells wants every young woman in our community to know that not only do we believe in her and her abilities, but that we are willing to work to make an investment in her by providing safe and pleasant playing conditions."
To learn more about The Rotary Club of the Caldwells, visit www.caldwellrotary.org or, to inquire about membership, contact Jerry Smith at 973-495-0221.
This article was provided by the Rotary Club of the Caldwells.