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    PALS in BELIZE

    A Softball Service Trip

    7.25.20 to 8.4.20

    travel to Belize with pals for softball + Service

    At Philadelphia Adult League Softball (PALS), we believe in the power of coed recreational softball to not only be a place for friendly competition but also a source of true camaraderie and friendship, in addition to being a way to collectively engage the community and support the efforts of non-profits and organizations where we play, live, work, and beyond.

     

    As a result, are so excited to continue to combine the founding pillars of the league--competition, community, and camaraderie--to return to Belize for our second softball service trip! To be held Saturday, July 25 through Tuesday, August 4, 2020, this ten night trip--coordinated with the Belize City Softball Association--will take us throughout the country to Belize City, Cayo District, and Caye Caulker, and will also take us for an overnight excursion to Guatemala. We'll play softball games with local coed teams, donate hundreds of pounds of equipment, facilitate youth softball clinics, volunteer with non-profit organizations, and see some of the many beautiful sights of Belize and Guatemala. Like last year, one of our key goals is to support local efforts to increase access and exposure to softball and baseball among young people throughout the country; this year, we will expand our reach and work with the Belize City Softball Association to support their efforts to engage the most vulnerable and at-risk young people in the community--children who may not attend school, or not have the resources to come to the stadium for clinics--through community clinics and equipment donations in collaboration with community sports clubs. We cannot be more excited to be returning to Belize and strengthening our collaboration with our amazing in-country partners.

     

    To sign up and save your spot, email kelly@phillypals.com by Tuesday, March 3. Your non-refundable deposit of $150 is due at that time to secure your participation in the trip. Spots are very limited so make sure to sign up asap!

     

    This trip is open to current or former PALS players and their families, current or former umpires, and other league partners and sponsors.

  • ABOUT The TRIP

    learn more about What we will do in Belize

    Softball

    We will play four nights of softball against co-ed teams from throughout the region under the lights at historic Rogers Stadium in Belize City. This is a great cross-cultural opportunity to learn from one another, make new softball friends, and enjoy some friendly rivalry.

     

    Games are coordinated through the Belize City Softball Association.

    service

    In the mornings in Belize City, we will facilitate community-based clinics in partnership with six community sports clubs, helping to support local efforts to increase access to softball and baseball. In addition, we will facilitate clinics at the Belize City Princess Royal Youth Hostel Detention Center, Liberty Children's Home Orphanage, and more. We will also bring softball and baseball equipment to support these clubs and organizations. In the afternoons, we will facilitate summer camp clinics for young people at Rogers Stadium.

     

    In addition, we will volunteer with and contribute to other organizations such as the Cayo Animal Welfare Society, the Belize Raptor Center, and the Caye Caulker Animal Shelter.

    sightS

    We'll take time to see some of the world famous sights in both Belize and Guatemala, including visiting the world-renowned Mayan ruins at Tikal National Park and snorkeling at the Barrier Reef in Caye Caulker. We will also visit (and spend the night at!) the Belize Zoo and other important historical and cultural sites.

     

    We will also enjoy some amazing Belizean cuisine.

  • why pals in belize?

     

     

    For many of us in the United States who grew up playing sports--or have children who now play sports--it is hard to imagine a childhood without baseball or softball. However, for many kids in the Central American country of Belize, they have never had the opportunity to play. There is currently no Little League in Belize (though there are some beginning efforts to reestablish it) and baseball has not been played in the country in any organized way since 1993. As a result, many children never step foot in the batter’s box, despite that baseball is well loved by many in Belize. In fact, Belizeans are often die hard Cubs fans because one of the only channels they received through the 1990s was WGN out of Chicago, which created a deep love of the MLB team.
     
    Softball is more widespread for both boys and girls; however, limited resources, exposure, and access to equipment and facilities means that basketball and soccer is more common. In Belize City, organizations such as the Belize City Softball Association--which last year offered its first coed recreational league for adults--dream of engaging more young people in softball or baseball, particularly as they are based on the Southside of the city where limited opportunities and poverty affect the lives of the children who reside there.
     
    Last year, we learned that the Association did not have any equipment available to facilitate youth softball clinics, and that needed items can be difficult to access--particularly with minimal resources--in the small country. The volume--and prohibitive expense--of equipment required to play as compared to other sports compounds these challenges. The need for equipment is particularly acute in Belize City, but is also felt throughout the country.

     

    As a result, in July 2019 we facilitated our first ever softball service trip to Belize to support the Belize City Softball Association's efforts to expand access to softball and baseball for so many young people. Through our amazing supporters, we raised more than $20,000 and received numerous equipment donations to make this initiative possible and, on July 14, a team of 19 of us headed down to Belize with more than 30 bags containing over 1,200 pounds of equipment to be used for clinics and to be distributed to primary schools to restart--or start--their softball and baseball programs. While in country, we worked with the Association to facilitate clinics for more than 100 young people in both Belize City and Cayo District, and we also visited and distributed equipment to the Belize City Princess Royal Youth Hostel Detention Center. To date, ten primary schools have received equipment donations as a result of our contributions through an equipment grant program set up by the Association.

     

    This year, we will again be donating equipment and facilitating clinics, with a special emphasis on community clinics and equipment donations for young people who don't have the resources to travel to the stadium or who may not currently be enrolled in school. These young people are among the most vulnerable in the country, with very limited opportunities. These clinics will be made possible in coordination with the Association as well as six local community sports clubs that are dedicated to keep young people from engaging in gang-related activity in the Southside of Belize. Through our donations, the Association will expand their equipment grant program to support these community-based organizations. We will also be facilitating clinics at the Detention Center and at the Liberty Children's Home orphanage. The community clinics will take place in the morning, while in the afternoon we will facilitate clinics at the stadium as part of summer camp.


    In addition to facilitating clinics, we will be playing other coed teams in Belize City. Last year, we played a total of five games which were a great cross-cultural opportunity to not only make new friendships but also to learn from one another and gain exposure to regional and cultural nuances in the game, showcase skills, and foster a friendly international rivalry. These international games also helped the Association to raise awareness of the sport. This year, we will once again put our skills to the test in tournament style play under the lights in historic Rogers Stadium.
     
    We will also be donating equipment to the teams we play as they are forced to share items and, as with youth equipment, these items are difficult to access and expensive. Having more equipment available also eliminates barriers to play as people can participate who can’t afford the many pieces of gear required.
     
    Finally, to broaden our impact we will also be volunteering with and/or making monetary and in-kind donations to other organizations in Belize City, Cayo, and Caye Caulker, particularly animal welfare related organizations including the Cayo Animal Welfare Society, Belize Raptor Center, the Belize Zoo, and the Caye Caulker Animal Shelter. As the homeless dog and cat population is a widespread issue in Belize (as it is in Philadelphia), we want to support organizations that provide much needed services such as low cost veterinary care and vaccines, spay and neuter services, and foster and adoption programs. We also want to support organizations focused on protecting, rehabilitating, and educating on local wildlife. Last year, we were able to donate more than $2,500 to these causes and look forward to supporting them again.
     

  • Meet The Team

    See Who Is Joining us in Belize

    Jonnae' M.

    Erisa L.

    Will S.

    Ace M.

    Amy K.

    Danny M.

    Jack M.

    Joe K.

    Jason N.

    Phil Y.

    Drew T.

    Steve O.

    Kelly O.

  • Trip Itinerary

    Saturday, July 25
    Arrive in Belize City, meet with Belize City Softball Association

    Travel to Belize Zoo and participate in night tour
    Lodging: Belize Zoo Jungle Lodge/Tropical Education Center (dinner and breakfast included)
    Sunday, July 26
    Clinics at Princess Royal Youth Youth Hostel Youth Detention Center

    Travel to Cayo District, Visit Cayo Animal Welfare Society

    Lodging: Mana Kai Cabins
    Monday, July 27
    Volunteer project with Belize Raptor Center in morning

    Travel to Guatemala in afternoon

    Lodging: Tikal Inn (dinner and breakfast included)
    Tuesday, July 28
    Sunrise tour of Tikal National Park and time to explore the park, travel to Belize City in afternoon

    Lodging: Radisson Fort George (breakfast included)
    Wednesday, July 29
    Morning: Community Clinics

    Afternoon: Summer Camp Clinics at Stadium

    Evening: Softball Games
    Lodging: Radisson Fort George (breakfast included)
    Thursday, July 30

    Morning: Community Clinics

    Afternoon: Summer Camp Clinics at Stadium

    Evening: Softball Games
    Lodging: Radisson Fort George (breakfast included)
    Friday, July 31

    Morning: Community Clinics

    Afternoon: Summer Camp Clinics at Stadium

    Evening: Softball Games
    Lodging: Radisson Fort George (breakfast included)
    Saturday, August 1

    Morning: Community Clinics

    Afternoon: Summer Camp Clinics at Stadium

    Evening: Softball Games, Softball Awards Party

    Lodging: Radisson Fort George (breakfast included)
    Sunday, August 2
    Travel via Ferry to Caye Caulker; afternoon free

    Lodging: Barefoot Belize
    Monday, August 3

    Volunteer in morning at Caye Caulker Animal Shelter, three hour snorkeling trip in afternoon (optional)

    Lodging: Barefoot Belize

    Tuesday, August 4
    Travel via ferry to Belize City, transfer to airport, and depart

     

    *Itinerary is subject to change

  • Trip Cost

    $1305 (including Airfare)

     

    The cost of the ten night trip is $1305 (see below for due dates and what is included--please note that this does include the overnight trip to Tikal National Park in Guatemala). You can also add on one optional excursion:

    • Half Day (3 Hours) Snorkeling in Caye Caulker for $35

    With this excursion added, the total would be $1340.

     

    As we did for the 2019 trip, we will be fundraising on behalf of the league to raise money to purchase softball and baseball equipment and to donate funds to the organizations we will be working with; we will also be fundraising to minimize in-country player costs and enable a wide range of player to attend. Our goal is that cost not be a barrier to participation and our hope is that--like last year--we will be able to reduce trip costs even further, contingent on successful fundraising efforts.

     

    As a participant in the trip, you will also be asked to fundraise, which we will help you with! This will include asking your network for donations through a league administered peer-to-peer fundraising page, assisting with and staffing group fundraising events and initiatives (think bake sales and quiz nights), and strategizing around fundraising efforts.

     

    **Please note that a valid passport that will be valid for six months after the departure date from Belize is required to enter Belize. If you passport will expire within the next year, you need to renew it before going on the trip!**

     

    What's Included

    • Round Trip Airfare from Philadelphia to Belize City on American Airlines
    • Lodging (primarily shared rooms in mid range hotels)
    • Some Meals (seven breakfasts and two dinners)
    • All Transportation Including:
      • Airport Transfers in Country
      • Roundtrip Private Bus Travel from Belize City to San Ignacio
      • Private Bus Travel within Belize City
      • Private Shuttle Travel from Belize to Guatemala
      • Roundtrip Ferry Travel Between Belize City and Caye Caulker
    • Emergency Medical Travel Insurance through World Nomads
    • Excursion to Tikal National Park in Guatemala, Park Entrance Fee, and Group Sunrise Tour
    • Night Tour at the Belize Zoo
    • Snorkeling Excursion in Caye Caulker (if you add on this option)

     

    What's NoT Included

    • Some Meals
    • Tips
    • Additional personal excursions
    • Airline baggage ($30 for first checked bag, $40 for second checked bag)
    • Recommended Vaccines (click here for the CDC's suggested vaccines)
    • Travel Cancellation Insurance
    • Passport renewal fees if applicable (Please note that a visa is NOT needed for US citizens traveling to Belize or Guatemala. Your passport must be valid for SIX MONTHS after your return date or you must renew it prior to travel.)
  • payment information

     

    • A non-refundable deposit of $150 to hold your spot is due by March 3, 2020.  This allows us to hold the airfare and cover other upfront costs.
    • To save your space, please send your $150 deposit to kelly@phillypals.com via PayPal or @phillypals via Venmo.
    • If you would prefer to pay via credit or debit card, please email kelly@phillypals.com. 
    • If there are still spots open after this date we will continue to add participants and accept deposits.
    • If there are not enough participants signed up by April 6, 2020 and the trip cannot run, we will refund your deposit. Otherwise, your deposit is non-refundable. 
    • To make the trip accessible to more players, we are offering installment payments. The due dates are as follows:
      • March 3, 2020: $150 deposit (non-refundable)
      • April 10, 2020: $220
      • May 10, 2020: $250
      • June 10, 2020: $300
      • June 20, 2020: $385 (for airfare, paid directly to airlines)
      • Due in Country: $35 for snorkeling if participating
    • As we will be fundraising as a group, if we raise enough funds we will be able to reduce the overall out-of-pocket cost of the trip per person and will update the payment amounts due as needed, starting with the latest payments first. We will also be fundraising to reduce in-country expenses such as meals.
    • Cancellation Policy: If you cancel up through May 15, you will receive a refund of all payments made through that date (minus your $150 non-refundable deposit). If you cancel on May 16 or later, you do not receive a refund for payments paid. If we are able to fill your slot after your cancellation, we may be able offer a partial or full refund but there is no guarantee. 
  • Want to Help?

    Can't go but still want to be involved? We need your help to make this trip possible again this year! Last year you went above and beyond and we could not be more grateful! Once again, we are accepting monetary contributions as well of gifts of equipment and other supplies to bring with us to Belize for the Belize City Softball Association and other organizations that we will be working with while in country.

     

    We are also accepting monetary contributions to minimize participants' costs so that all players have the opportunity to participate in the service trip and to ensure that cost is not a barrier--as it often is for these types of service trips.

     

    To make a monetary contribution, please send via Venmo @phillypals or PayPal at kelly@phillypals.com. Check back soon for the link to our GoFundMe!

     

    The following softball items are needed (new and gently used):

    • Cleats (all sizes)
    • Gloves (youth and adult)
    • Catcher's gear (youth and adult)
    • Batting helmets (youth and adults)
    • Pitcher's mask (youth and adults)
    • Softballs (**new only**)
    • Batting gloves (youth and adult)
    • Catcher's mitts (youth and adult)
    • Composite bats (youth and adult)
    • Throw down quilted bases 
    • Throw down rubber bases
    • Pitcher's plates
    • Home plates
    • Large team equipment bags
    • Baseball/softball tees
    • Uniforms (pants, jerseys, hats, socks, etc.)
    **For used items, please make sure that you would use the items yourself, that they are clean, and that there is no damage whatsoever to the equipment--particularly protective gear.**
     

    Shipping or Dropping Off Donations

    Donated can be shipped to:

     

    Philadelphia Adult League Softball

    3720 Spruce Street #420

    Philadelphia, PA 19104

     

    You can also drop off any donations at the Mill Creek Recreation Center field during games time on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays between 6pm and 10pm starting on March 30, 2020. The field is located at 48th & Brown in West Philadelphia. We are also happy to pick up items from your location.

     

    Thank you so much for your help!

  • Questions?

    PLease reach out to us!

    Email

    kelly@phillypals.com

    Phone

    267.225.2480

    Facebook

    @phillypals

    Instagram

    @phillypals.com