Ron has been involved in youth sports in East Hanover for over 15 years. The result of his dedication was an appointment by the Mayor as Chairman to the East Hanover Recreation Committee. The following is Ron’s description of his activities over the years.
When my boys started playing baseball in town I noticed the registration was recorded on handwritten sheets. Coaches received a handwritten page with the player’s name and telephone number. I had just taught myself Microsoft Access and knew there was a better way. I asked if I could help and of course when someone volunteers to do something they get the job.
The next year I had a program ready which included all the players from the previous year. We collected not just the players name and telephone number but address and mom and dad’s work telephone numbers. When cell phones came along we added that information also. The coaches received printouts of the teams with all the information, parent’s names, phone numbers and uniform sizes. That reduced administrative work to ¼ of what is was the year before.
Once they found out I was an accountant they put me on the baseball board as Treasurer where I did their first budget. After the two seasons we ended the year with $10,000 in the bank to buy new equipment the following year. That was when I was elected President of the league.
During my tenure I enrolled our baseball league in Little League so the boys could play toward the national championship. I increased our sponsorship revenue by “marketing” the baseball fields to the local businesses. My sponsor letter spoke about the large crowds that baseball brings to the field. We doubled the number of signs on the field and sold the area under the scoreboards for $1,000 each.
I made it a rule that all parents were required to take the Rutgers Safety Clinic before they were allowed to coach. The Clinic taught them how to teach children sports and what to do in case of an emergency. After a few years of baseball requiring the Rutgers Clinic, East Hanover began requiring the class for all youth coaches. I then had the Recreation Department start doing background checks of all coaches. That was back in the 1990’s, now all towns require it.
One year we brought in a dad who had pitched for the Yankees to give a pitching clinic in the school gym. We increased the number of summer baseball teams and started playing fall baseball. That gave the boys who didn’t play football an option.
I spent 6 years running Little League which involved over 400 children and parents. After that I was President of Babe Ruth Baseball (13 – 15 years old) for 5 years. Our Babe Ruth league encompasses 7 towns and includes over 200 children and parents. I made an effort to keep kids in. When towns did not offer any organized baseball after Little League, we offered those players the opportunity to join our teams. I believed that the more I kept them in sports the better off they were.
In 2008 a new administration was elected and the Mayor established the East Hanover Recreation Committee. Because of my years of service in youth sports and my reputation, I was appointed Chairman of the committee. We have members from all leagues serving on the Board and the Recreation Department consults us on how we can improve the childrens' experience throughout the year in all activities.
All this from a guy that never played an organized sport in his life.