PALS in BELIZE
A Softball Service Trip
7.14.19 - 7.23.19
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 combine the founding pillars of the league--competition, community, and camaraderie--to offer our first softball service trip abroad to Belize. To be held Sunday, July 14 through Tuesday, July 23, 2019, this nine night trip--coordinated with the Belize City Softball Association--will take us throughout the country to Belize City, Cayo, San Pedro, and Caye Caulker. We'll play softball games with local coed teams, donate over 1000 pounds of equipment, facilitate youth softball clinics, volunteer with non-profit organizations, and see some of the many beautiful sights of Belize through organized excursions. 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.
Our plan is that this will be the first of many softball service trips through the league to be held on an annual basis, and this will be an exciting opportunity to help us learn and shape future trips. As of 3.4.19, the trip is now full, but if you would like to added to the waiting list please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about our league, visit www.phillypals.com.
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
We will play softball games in Cayo, Belize City, and San Pedro, including three nights of games under the lights at the historic Rogers Stadium in Belize City. This will be 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.
We will facilitate clinics with more than 200 students in Belize City and the village of Esperanza in Cayo District, helping to support local efforts to increase access to softball and baseball throughout the country.
We will also bring more than 1000 pounds of softball and baseball equipment to enable the startup of softball programs at more than a dozen primary schools throughout Belize City and a pilot baseball program for at-risk youth. This is critically important in places such as Belize City, for example, where the league doesn't have the items required to facilitate clinics with students, meaning these children may never have the opportunity to play.
In addition, we will volunteer with and contribute to other organizations such as the Cayo Animal Welfare Society and Caye Caulker Animal Shelter.
We'll take time to see some of the world famous sights in Belize, including visiting the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave in San Ignacio and snorkeling at the Barrier Reef in Caye Caulker.
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 this year is offering 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.
However, the Association currently does not have any equipment available to facilitate youth softball clinics, and 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, such as in the rural areas of Cayo.
To help support local efforts, our team of 15 participants from the league and two league organizers will travel to Belize City and San Ignacio to facilitate clinics for young people ages 7-16 in coordination with the Belize City Softball Association so that children will have the opportunity to play for the first time. We will also donate a wide range of equipment so that these clinics are sustainable and can continue long after we leave. In addition, this equipment will be used to facilitate the startup of softball programs at more than a dozen primary schools in Belize City and a pilot baseball program for at-risk youth. For example, as of now the Belize City Softball Association only has one set of anchored bases that cannot be removed and easily transported from Rogers Stadium softball field. As many of the children who would most benefit from organized activities are unable to travel to the the field, just providing a set of throw down bases that they can bring into the community will help them expand their efforts, as will providing gloves, bats, helmets, balls, and other items needed for safe play.
In addition to facilitating clinics, we will be playing other local coed teams in Belize City, Cayo, and San Pedro. This will be 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 will also help the leagues to raise awareness of the sport and potentially attract new audiences--all of which is especially timely in Belize City as this is their first year offering coed rec leagues and it will be a valuable opportunity to highlight the sport and their players. Furthermore, as Belize City charges a minimal entrance fee that goes back to league to support field maintenance, umpire fees, and their other initiatives, these games offer a new avenue for promotion and hopefully increased attendance.
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, San Pedro, and Caye Caulker, particularly animal welfare related organizations including the Cayo Animal Welfare Society, Caye Caulker Animal Shelter, Saga Humane Society in San Pedro, and the Belize City Humane Society. 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 are coordinating with these organizations to understand their greatest needs (as they also struggle with access to and expense of necessary supplies) and will provide these items. We will be volunteering on site with the Cayo Animal Welfare Society in San Ignacio and the Caye Caulker Animal Shelter.
Meet The Team
See Who Is Joining us in Belize
Sunday, July 14
Arrive in Belize City, meet with Belize City Softball Association, transfer via shuttle to San Ignacio
Monday, July 15
Visit Cayo Animal Welfare Society
Clinics and softball games in the village of Esperanza in Cayo, outside of San Ignacio
Tuesday, July 16
Visit Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave
Softball game in evening
Wednesday, July 17
Visit Belize Raptor Center in morning and travel via shuttle to Belize City
Softball clinic in afternoon and game in evening
Lodging: Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina
Thursday, July 18
Clinics and softball games in Belize City
Lodging: Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina
Friday, July 19
Clinics and games in Belize City
Lodging: Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina
Saturday, July 20
Travel via ferry to San Pedro
Two softball games in afternoon
Sunday, July 21
Travel via Ferry to Caye Caulker; afternoon free
Monday, July 22
Volunteer in morning at Caye Caulker Animal Shelter, snorkeling in afternoon
Tuesday, July 23
Travel via ferry to Belize City, transfer to airport, and depart
*Itinerary is subject to change
What's NoT Included
Want to Help?
Can't go but still want to be involved? We need your help to make this trip possible! We are accepting monetary contributions as well of gifts of equipment and other supplies to bring with us to Belize for the softball leagues 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 click here!
The following softball items are needed (new and gently used):
We will also be collecting supply donations for animal shelters in Belize that we will be volunteering with during our time in-country. The following items are needed (new only):
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 April 1, 2019. 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!