Through ASAP, Boston Beyond is demonstrating how baseball can provide high school students interaction with caring adults, paid employment, portable job skills and leadership opportunities. In 2009, through its Youth Sports Initiative, Boston Beyond partnered with the city agency, Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF), to provide 20 teens with apprenticeships in baseball umpiring leading to summer internships as umpires for the city-wide little league.
BCYF contracted with two individual instructors to operate the apprenticeship trainings and supervise the internship: a professional umpire who served as the content specialist and a youth development expert. Through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-field experience, participants mastered the skills needed to serve as little league umpires.
As a complement to the technical instruction on rules of the game and umpiring calls, the apprenticeships also received youth development skills through related diversity awareness and conflict resolution trainings. To support the program, BCYF also contributed classroom and field space and a portion of the umpiring certification and youth stipend costs.
As a result of the ASAP program, BCYF was able to serve an additional 200 kids through a newly created Boston city-wide summer little league. Upon successful completion of the 8-week apprenticeship and a skills assessment modeled after the professional certification exam, ASAP interns served as umpires for the little league. The league held three games each night and interns rotated roles including officiating the games, cleaning and maintaining the field, managing the scorebook, and serving as peer-to-peer observers to offer feedback to fellow umpires.
Apprentices will also have the opportunity to take the official certification exam administered by the Eastern Massachusetts Baseball Umpires Association in the spring.