If you want to play baseball, the Statesboro Arrows wants you.
The Arrows are a youth baseball team organized by Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead, and is looking to field a team to begin playing in the spring.
Broadhead created the program in the fall to inspire and encourage youth and provide activity for teens who may be unable to participate in recreation department sports. He hopes the program will fill some gaps and help create positive relationships between police officers and the city’s young people.
“We are actively recruiting players and we won't turn anyone away,” he said. “We are looking for kids age 14 and under and all are welcome regardless of experience. Currently we have kids aged 10-14.”
The team is based out of the Luetta Moore Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The program is year round and volunteer coaches are police officers, he said.
When the program began in October, Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore praised the efforts.
“The beautiful thing about this initiative is that it will bring baseball back to Luetta K. Moore Park, located right in a residential neighborhood, at no cost to individual families,” she said. “We recognize that youth baseball is becoming more and more expensive. In addition to the cost, many kids live a long way from Mill Creek Park, and simply don’t have the transportation to participate in youth baseball there.”
Broadhead hopes community members will encourage youth to join the team, funded through donations and started with $1,000 seed money from the chief’s own pocket. The team is mainly sponsored by CORE Credit Union, which purchased uniforms and equipment, he said.
“We have held three practices, and we have about eight kids involved so far, so we need some players,” he said. “Our next practice will be Saturday, January 6 at 11 a.m. at Luetta Moore Park… any kids who are interested should come play with us. We have extra gloves for kids who don't have one.”
The plans for the team are that “coaches will all be police officers, and there are four of us who are involved (so far,” he said. In an earlier interview when the program was just starting, Broadhead said he “saw the benefits of having officers work directly with youth and the benefits of kids knowing officers on a different level. Coaches can have a tremendous, long lasting impact on youth and I think advancing that relationship between the police and youth is always a good thing.”
Response to the program has been positive and now, Broadhead hopes young people will come forward and join.
“We have had a great response from the community and have plenty of money for our current and immediate future needs,” he said. “I am really proud of how generous the community has been, and they have really thrown their support behind the team.”
This isn’t the first time Broadhead has developed a program like this. In his previous positions as police chief in Riverton, Wyoming, and Littleton, Colorado, he led the same type of effort.
“I coached a freshman baseball team at a high school years ago … and realized how much my job allowed me to interact with the kids on a different level,” he said in an October interview. “I also ran into many of those young men through my duties as a police officer, and we always had that common ground. It made it clear to me that police officers have a unique position in a community, and they need to use it to reach out to youth.”
For more information about the team, visit the
Statesboro Arrows Baseball Team Facebook page (www.facebook.com/statesboroarrows/).
The page has information on updates regarding practices and there is a place to ask questions or contact Broadhead via the page.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.