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Summit Junior Baseball
Date:  November 20, 2012                                                     Location:  Recreation Center
Meeting Called to Order by:  Sam Coburn                              Time: 7:00 PM
In Attendance: Calabrese, Chang, Coburn, Compietello, Douglas, Engmann, Hayford, Maldonado, McDonald, Miller, Nardino, Queripel, Schaffer, Shannon, Trone, and Welsh.
Minutes:  Minutes of 10/08/12 meeting were accepted and approved.
Officer’s Reports: 
President – Sam Coburn:  Mr. Coburn thanked the new board for their service.  He is grateful for the many volunteers in the organization.  He mentioned that there are still positions open which he hopes to have staffed within two weeks.  His goal is to keep Board Meetings short and concise.  
Schedule for Spring 2013 Season – Patty McDonald:  Mrs. McDonald shared that online registration will begin on December 3rd for both baseball and softball.  Registration will be open until early February.  There will continue to be a donation button found on the online registration form. This was very successful last year.  There will also be a box to choose uniform sizes, which is a new feature. 
Mrs. McDonald is working with Mr. Hayford to solidify dates for the 2013 season.  Once approved, they will be posted on the web site calendar. Opening Day is confirmed for April 8th for all leagues.
There was a discussion regarding whether or not registration should start and finish earlier.  The pros and cons were listed for both sides, but this subject was tabled for a future meeting.
Financial Report – Tim Shannon:  Mr. Shannon presented the Draft Budget Ranges for the 2012/2013 fiscal year.  He is currently working on the proposed budget and will present it to the Executive Board shortly. 
Mr. Shannon is changing the SJBB accounting system from paper to electronic.  Quick Books will be used for all accounting forms, and will make organizing and record keeping much easier from this point on. Electronic billing will be used to pay all expenses. 
The current fiscal year ends on August 31.  Since there are many expenses involved with fall ball, it was suggested to wrap the fall season into the previous fiscal year rather than starting the fiscal year with fall ball.  Otherwise, there is a lot of time involved in trying to figure out which expense gets pulled from which budget.  As a result, Mr. Shannon provided several options that the board discussed.
**Motion presented by Tim Shannon:  Change SJBB’s fiscal year end date from August 31st to October 31st. Mr. Chang seconded the motion.  Approved – unanimously.
Softball – John Calabrese:  Mr. Calabrese shared that it was a very successful fall softball season.  There were six teams in four different divisions in the Cranford League.  All six teams finished with a 500 winning average or better.  The 8U team won the Division Championship.
Softball clinics will start in mid-February this year.  Frozen Ropes will run the clinics in-house for grades one through four.  Rich Vaccoro will run clinics in his facility for grades five through High School. 
8th Grade Middle School Team Update – Ike Welsh:  During February this year, Mr. Welsh will be hosting a Baseball Kick Off Party for 8th graders.  He is hosting this party a month earlier than usual in the hopes of enticing some kids to try out for the team who may normally do so because of other sport commitments.  Baseballs’ enrollment has been dropping slightly each year, as players get older.  So, the purpose of this party is to create an enthusiasm for the program in a relaxing and fun atmosphere. All interested players for both the Middle School Team and the Suburban League will be invited.
Mr. Welsh was asked if he felt it was successful having two separate baseball teams last year:  one team for seventh grade and one team for eighth grade.  He said that he felt very comfortable with the change and felt it was successful.  Board Members whose sons had played on the seventh grade team last year echoed Mr. Welsh’s sentiment by saying that the players had a great year and all are planning on trying out for the eighth grade team.
Additionally, by having the two middle school teams, players are becoming better trained and are ready to take advantage of the different High School Team opportunities (Freshman, Junior Varsity and Varsity).
Suburban League Discussion – Chris Chang:  Mr. Chang presented in detail the two current issues with the Suburban League.  The first issue:  Should Summit stay with the town of Springfield in the Suburban league?  The second issue: If Summit decides to run a league for 7th and 8th graders alone, should a different model be used to make the league more competitive and fun?
Regarding the first issue, Summit and Springfield have played in the Suburban League together for the last several years.  Due to attrition issues, partnering with a neighboring town made logical sense to keep enrollment numbers high.  Last year, Summit fielded 6 teams and Springfield fielded 4.  There was a long discussion on the pros of cons of staying with Springfield.
Regarding the second issue, it was then discussed how Summit would proceed with having the Suburban League as a town league for Summit players only.  There would most likely be only 6 to 8 teams, which would mean teams would have to play each other two or three times during the season. 
However, having a Summit only league would create an opportunity to really focus on players’ development on a regulation field.  This is a chance to shift the paradigm:  train your players, keep them in baseball, and have more boys take advantage of High School Baseball opportunities.  The idea of having a Summit only tournament weekend for this age group was also discussed. The key would be to make the experience fun for the boys so that they would want to keep learning and in turn to keep playing. It is important to create a buzz about the program and to make it exciting.   
** A Vote Was Taken:  All those in favor of the Summit creating our own league without Springfield, for the 2013 spring season, say “yay.” The majority said yay…. vote passed.
Field & Capital Projects – Marc Rind:  Mr. Rind reviewed the damage from Super Storm Sandy.  Overall, the fields were okay with relatively little damage.  However, Memorial Field was hit the hardest with the following damage: scoreboard tipped, tops from several dugouts blew off, and batting cage was totaled.
As a result, the Executive Board suggested replacing the damaged Memorial Field Batting Cage with a Mastodon Batting Cage.  It would be 40 x 80 feet and the area inside would be turfed. There would be a protective fence put around the cage.  The Mastodon is an expensive, high quality system, and Capital Improvements money would be needed to pay for the project.  Hoping to break ground soon.
Winterization of all fields is currently taking place.
Marketing – Matt Hayford:  Mr. Hayford thanked Stewart Douglas for helping make the transition into his new role very smooth.
Mr. Hayford is grateful to be working with Chuck McCall who will still be in charge of equipment, and with Mrs. Washburn who will still be in charge of obtaining sponsors.
Mrs. Washburn is currently recruiting sponsors, and the sponsor application is already on the website.  Sponsors need to be in place by January 31st for uniforms to be ready in time.
Mrs. Cahill will be in charge of uniforms again this year.  There will also be the added element of parents requesting uniform sizes for their child, so uniforms need to be ordered as soon as sponsors have been chosen to ensure enough time for delivery. 
Mr. Comptiello has agreed to run the Elk’s Fund Raiser again, after a successful event last year.  The hope is to host the event the last weekend of April, preferably on that Friday. 
There will be Home Run Fence Banners, placed at Long Field, listing the names of preferred sponsors.  This is a new, higher level of sponsorship being offered this year.
Mrs. Queripel has agreed to be more involved in Public Relations this year.  She will continue with the newsletter, and will use online newspapers to help promote SJBB/SGFS events, clinics and registration.  It was suggested that Mrs. Queripel contact the Summit Patch about a sports blog where game information could be posted next spring.  SJBB is now on Twitter and there is a link on our website.  The possibility of a Facebook page was briefly discussed, but the importance of privacy and keeping children’s names and faces off the Internet was brought up.  Nevertheless, the idea of creating a buzz and excitement around SJBB and our programs is very much needed. 
As of now, pizza fest is scheduled to be at the High School on March 18, 19, and 20.  LCJMS will not be used this year. 
Mr. Hayford is looking to move Patriots Day to May 16th, so that it is not the weekend after the Elk’s Fundraiser.  Patriot’s Day did suffer last year because of the timing of near simultaneous events.
League Directors will be asked to create opening day events for each age level.  It is such a fun way to start the season, especially for the younger kids.
Championship weekend will be Father’s Day weekend once again.
Operations – David Trone:  Mr. Trone spoke about potential upcoming clinics for winter and spring.  He would like to bring back the catchers’ clinic this year, and wants to run another pitching clinic, which has been very popular in the past.  He will also run Friday Night winter clinics for all age levels, but may not hold them for grades 7 and 8 since there are generally fewer participants. These winter clinics were very popular and broad based covering an array of topics.
There was a concern mentioned that there are too many clinics being offered.  However, the thinking is that clinics are optional, so no one has to sign up for them.  Nevertheless, many kids like the extra training right before the season begins to help them get ready.  Clinic dates will be posted on the calendar once they have been confirmed. 
Mr. Trone encouraged brainstorming in several areas.  One idea was to pick spring travel teams in the fall, so that they may train together all winter.  Another idea was to have a professional coach run Saturday or Sunday grade-wide clinics/practices before the season starts, to work on players’ skills. A third idea was to get professional evaluators, from Frozen Ropes or another baseball facility, to evaluate players during the draft.  As a result, this takes away fathers’ bias from grading kids they know higher, and makes the evaluation more fair and accurate.  Mr. Trone will continue to investigate all three of these areas and the discussion will be continued at the Executive Board Level.  
Mr. Trone and Mr. Engmann are working together to either create or find an acceptable template of expected skills for each grade level.  This is a very ambitious task, and many other volunteers are needed to help.  However, having a benchmark to refer to would be invaluable.  In addition, if coaches had a list of skills required, then they can focus their practice and teachings on those specific areas. 
Personnel – Todd Engmann: Mr. Engmann shared that he is in the process of finding four more league directors. 
One area that Mr. Engmann really wants to focus on is how coaches develop talents and skills.  He really wants to train coaches better so that they may instruct their players more precisely.  He wants to develop a sub committee to discuss ways to improve coaching in all leagues. He also feels suggesting certain skills and drills to practice may be helpful.
One idea that Mr. Engmann wants to implement in the younger grades (k,1,2) is to have Saturday morning skill training sessions (instead of games) for the first few weeks of the season.  In these sessions, there would be several stations for kids to rotate to such as batting, base running, catching, throwing, etc.  Then, there would be fun drills for the players to do to reinforce the skill.  The theory is that by training kids at an early age, they will get better and develop a stronger love of the game.  It would be essential to keep these skill sessions fun to keep the players interested.
Mr. Welsh suggested that high school players make short (one minute or less) instructional videos addressing certain skills like hitting a ball or making a catch at first base.  Younger players watching older players would be very inspirational as well as helpful, thus giving the younger kids something to aspire to for the future.
Mr. Engmann also suggested that we move away from coach pitching in first grade, and use the spring-loaded machines instead.
New Business (All Board Members):
Meeting Adjourned At: 9:25
Minutes Compiled By:  Alexandra Queripel, SJBB Recording Secretary