The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame has launched its 2014 membership drive.
Now in its 15th year in St. Marys, Ont., the Canuck ball shrine is hoping to increase its number of members by 20 per cent heading into what’s destined to be the most exciting year in the Hall’s history.
“If everything goes as planned, construction of the fourth diamond on our site – which was funded by the town of St. Marys – should be complete by May 1,” said Scott Crawford, the Hall’s director of operations. “We also hope that the first shovel will hit the ground on our new museum next year.”
But while progress is being made on these larger projects that will begin a new chapter on the Hall’s 32-acre site, the St. Marys shrine continues to rely on support from members to fund existing programs.
“One of our priorities is to provide educational opportunities for kids,” explained Crawford. “The money from our membership drive will assist us with events like our annual Kids On Deck camp, which uses baseball as a medium to teach social justice and cultural awareness. A portion of the membership fees will also go towards site maintenance and the preservation of artifacts.”
The Hall offers five levels of membership that start as low as $50 per year. All of the membership packages offer significant perks, ranging from special access to inductees on induction weekend to discounts on merchandise. Anyone who purchases a membership will also receive a partial tax receipt. For details on the membership levels and on how you can purchase a membership, visit the Hall’s website.
“Our members and volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization,” said Crawford. “Without them, we wouldn’t exist. We’re very appreciative of everyone who has purchased a membership to this point, but I’d love to see our membership numbers grow as we begin this new chapter in our history.”
Crawford points out that the Hall hosted 450 events in 2013 and several school groups were among the hundreds that visited the Hall this year.
“I think it’s important that these school groups continue to come to our museum,” said Crawford. “On our tours, we can not only introduce them to the rich history of baseball in our country, but we can educate and inspire them by sharing stories about inductees like Jackie Robinson and Fergie Jenkins and the social and cultural hurdles that they had to overcome. Our museum is full of stories that teach lessons about life that extend far beyond the ball field.”
Participants in the Hall’s week-long Kids On Deck camp – which has attracted dozens of nine-to-15-year-old kids from across the country during its 11-year existence – benefit from the same type of education.
“The feedback we’ve received from the kids and the parents about our camp has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Crawford. “They appreciate the fact that the camp is fun and educational and that it’s not just about baseball.”
With the new diamond set to be ready in the spring, Crawford expects the Hall to host as many as 700 events on their site next year.
“The new field will bring more people to the site and into the museum, and this will mean that more people will come to St. Marys,” said Crawford. “This is a good news story for us and the town, but it also means we’ll need more money for maintenance and to ensure that we can maintain and enhance our youth programs. So it’s very important that we grow our membership numbers.”