Youth baseball volunteer keeps giving back to others

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 21, 2003

When Todd Taylor was eight years old, hais mother, Carmel Taylor was elected to be the secretary and treasurer for Austin Youth Baseball and she has been in this position for 17 years. Taylor, along with other board members has worked to keep youth sports affordable and fun in Austin.

"Roger Kvam is the president, Bob Wilson is the assistant commissioner and Joan Maxfield helps me out. When I decide to step down from the board, Joan will take over for me," Taylor said.

Taylor said that youth baseball has many dedicated volunteers beside herself. Larry and Cindy Bellrichard are in charge of the playing fields and community relations. Jason Smith is in charge of the junior division. Jim Anderson is in charge of Merchant Division and Scott Knoebel is in charge of Senior Division.

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"My part is mainly the fund-raisers and getting donations from clubs in town. We try and do things for the club with sponsor's fees. Each and every sponsor pays a fee to advertise on the T-shirts the youths wear. There is not a lot of turnover with sponsors. They like doing this," said Taylor.

Youth baseball is a nonprofit organization and the sponsor fees go toward operating expenses, paying the referees, umpires and a minimal of utility bills. Money is spent on providing outdoor toilets at a playing field if there are no facilities. Some funding is used to purchase a large piece of equipment that the program might need.

"Sometimes, something needs to be built, and we provide the materials and the Austin Park and Recreation will provide the labor. The clubs in town, especially the Hormel Foundation, have been very helpful with capital expenditures," Taylor said.

The Austin Youth Baseball program begins with sign up April 1-15. Each player pays $20 and there is a family fee of $40. There is funding for those families that may need extra help. Children are divided into teams by where they go to school or reside. A child does not have to be a resident of Mower County in order to play youth sports in Austin.

"We work to make this very affordable. There is a lot of satisfaction working with the kids. A lot of kids don't come out of our program with fantastic skills but they have a knowledge of baseball and a love of the game," said Taylor.

Taylor, who with husband David has a son, Todd, and a daughter, Terri, has been a longtime employee at Austin Utilities.

After being part of the program for 17 years, Taylor has former players come up and greet her and she loves it when they say, "Hi, Mrs. Taylor." The program has not consumed her life but she says that she is busy in spurts through out the year but it is nothing she can't handle.

"We can't run our program without people donating their time. Coaches, parents and other people on the board keep this program going. We always need more help. I have met so many people being on the board. I still love to sit and watch a baseball game," Taylor said.