Meet Stacie from Gainesville, FloridaStacie is a financial counselor at the University of Florida and she’s also the coach of her daughter’s fast pitch softball team – has been for the past five years. Stacie says, “I have watched over these years how girls learn how to play as a team, learn self confidence, and flourish in their young softball ambitions. A lot of the girls have gone on to play at their high schools and have earned scholarships. The girls cherish the friendships they have found from other girls in the community that they might not have had the opportunity to meet, much less become friends with since they all go to different schools. The league has truly brought these girls together.”
Stacie’s grant of $7,000 will provide the girls (3 age groups) with:
• Catching equipment: face mask/helmet, chest protectors, knee guards
• Batting helmets w/ face masks
• Two soft-toss screens
• Home and away dugouts roofs for three fields-totaling 6 roofs
• Pitching machine with transportation cart
• Building materials for bull pens for 3 fields, including clay mounds, wood boarding, pitching rubbers, home plates, & protective back stop screening for three fields
Over 100 girls will benefit from Stacie’s generosity, not to mention the hundreds of spectators who cheer them on at the games.
Diary Starts Here
June 27, 2008
The bull pens are finally up. And both the Gainesville 14's and 12's won their district tournaments last week! It looks like they play rain or shine. Stacie sent us some great pictures of both teams.
Next they'll be competing in the state tournament over the Fourth of July Holiday. If the girls place, they are off to North Carolina for regionals and a chance at the world series. Wouldn't that be exciting!!!
June 11, 2008
Stacie tells us they have started their All-star practices and plan on participating in the District and State tournaments in Florida over the next month. They are having a banner made with all the girls' names and sponsors. Our grant gave Stacie enough money to get new uniforms too. They were able to purchase the girls a full
jersey, shorts, pants, visor, and socks. And after some delays on the new bullpens, they are finally breaking ground on them next week.
Stacie said, "I can not tell you enough how this experience has been such a blessing. I was able to catch some of the little 8's games this season, and to see them with their new "little" helmets, catching gear, and bats was so amazing. So darn adorable!!!"
All the age groups have had a fun and exciting season. Their 14's won a tournament in Interlachen, their 12's took first and second place in a tournament in Melrose, and their 10's took second place in a tournament in Waldo. Jackie credits their having the proper
equipment for boosting their confidence and making them play like champs!
Stacie believes the lasting effects are endless. "The girls will always have these memories when they are all grown up," she says. "My hope is that they pass it on and come back in some kind of form. With every awesome experience is a memory, and that is my hope for them. I have seen them pick each other up from a bad play or hit, sitting in the corner of the dug out with their helmets on trying to fight away the tears, and then along comes a team mate to tell them it's okay, and they did their best, and we can do it as a team! My favorite was 'there is no crying in softball' and 'we play together as a team win or loose'. Then turning into crazy girls (and I do mean crazy!) jumping in a pile after a hard fought win, with tears of happiness, all wanting to hold the championship trophy! This would not have happened without generosity and kindness. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
May 19, 2008
Finally, an update from Stacie: They had a bit of a delay for the field improvements since the park is city owned but now it looks like the bull pens will be completed within the next month. They are also sprucing up the concession stand, bathrooms, and dug outs and are planning a "painting" day with the parents. They are now establishing their "All-star" teams with all the age groups and will start practicing for the District and State tournaments. The girls are really enjoying the new equipment and Stacie says because it all fits, she is "most certain it has helped prevent injuries. All of these improvements and gear are going to be used for years to come. So many are going to be able to enjoy the benefits." Stacie promised to send pictures soon.
April 14, 2008
Stacie tells us things are going great. They have started passing out the new gear to all the teams, and are now working on the bull pens for the fields.. All of the girls are getting back from Spring break and they expect all the age groups will have games this weekend. She says it's exciting to see the girls in the catching gear, helmets, and using all of the new gear. We'll have photos soon.
March 20, 2008
Sharing an email from Stacie...
Thank you so much for your phone call yesterday.. We have already started the process of talking to venders and getting prices for the equipment, and field supplies.. We have our first home games this weekend for all the age groups.. After all the games are completed the coaches are all getting together for a meeting to brain storm-- I am SO excited!!! I even had another call from a radio station today.. WOW!! Good news really travels fast!! I will try to get some photo of the girls this weekend and send them to you. Again, Thank you!!! Without you, none of this would been possible!!!
Talk to you all soon!
March 18th, 2008
I talked to Stacie today and she said she's getting recognized on the street from all the publicity. She also said they were contacted by a roofing company who might be willing to help out with the new bull pens. Wouldn't that be grea
March 13th, 2008
I called Stacie today to let her know she could buy all that equipment for her softball team, but things did not go quite as planned. Not even close. Stacie was going to be at work and a TV crew wanted to be there when I made the call, so I had to get someone at Stacie’s job to help keep it a surprise. I called her boss, Kelly, who already knew about Stacie's application and was very excited about my call. There was only one problem. Stacie wasn't there. She was filling in for someone at another location. What? This can't be! We have a news crew on the way! I needed time to think and said I'd call Kelly back. I decided the best thing to do was send the crew to the other location and I called Kelly back. But before I could tell her my plan, she told me Stacie just got back.
You would think things would have gone smoothly from here. Not exactly. I told Kelly I would call her again to touch base, but when I did, there was no answer. Why is this happening? I finally got her and she had been in the elevator with the reporter but now they were ready and in place. Finally, things were going my way. Or so I thought. I called Kelly to say I was ready to make the call, but the reporter left to get tape out of her car. Give me a break here! A few minutes later, we were set to go. They walked in as I called Stacie with the good news. Stacie said she was stunned and very happy, and was going to send an email to all the girls in the league to share her excitement. We can’t wait to see photos of all their new gear.
3/14: Jenny wrote... "Stacie, it’s great that you realize the value of sports for young girls. Your donation is sure to teach the girls the importance of sports, and of giving."
3/14: Damon wrote... "Hi Stacie. You're doing such a great thing for Gainesville. As a former baseball/softball player myself, I know how exciting it is to receive new equipment! Thanks for all you've done for the young athletes in your community."
3/14: Ali wrote... "Hey girlie. Congrats on this wonderfully generous award that is going to impact so many lives. When I sit here and reminisce, it’s amazing how the love, patience, money, disicpline and time that were invested in our generation of female athletes (and our team especially) is now trickling down to the next generation. We had some great coaches and now we are becoming them…Give Tay my love."
3/14: Lisa wrote... "Stacie,Thank you so much for taking the initiative to contact Jenny and get this wonderful gift to our Fast-Pitch softball girls!"
3/14: Renee wrote... "Stacie, getting this new equipment is truly a dream come true for the girls here in Gainesville. You have always been such a dedicated coach and we really appreciate you. Thank you for seeking out this opportunity to better our community. Thank you Jenny for this very generous donation."
3/14: Rob wrote... "Stacie, You are amazing. I know Donovan and all the girls really appreciate all you’ve done for them. Thanks Jenny for realizing and rewarding the efforts of people like Stacie and all they do for their communities."
3/14: Travis wrote... "Hello-Stacie-Great way to help out the girls softball team. Im sure that this will make a big difference in their team attitude. Making a difference is what it's all about-Way to go Stacie!"
3/15: Anthony wtote... "Stacie its sooo awesome how you have reached out to be able to provide these young girls with the proper equipment they need. You are really doing much more than providing equipment, you are helping build these girls self-esteem."
3/15: Liz wrote... "Good for you Stacie. Your girls must be thrilled. New uniforms and girls just are a must, and all the protective gear is so vital. They must be thrilled. When I was a kid I played girls slo-pitch and used to see some of the teams that had all matching stuff and I was so envious. They looked like they could play so much better than my team because they dazzled. Good for you."
3/16: Terri wrote... "Hi Stacie, there is nothing greater than an involved parent! You've gone the extra mile in securing a donation to make their world even better. Kudos."
3/17: Liesl wrote... "Stacie, When our timid little Katie finally agreed to try a sport four years ago, we hoped that move would help her learn the valuable life lessons that athletics can teach. Our family is so grateful that she was placed on your team. Since then, you've been a wonderful teacher and mentor to her. Your encouragement and nurturing has helped her in so many ways. You've always had the best interests in mind -- not just for your own team members, but for the entire softball community. You continue to be a role model for young girls in north central Florida. How wonderful of you to seek out funding to improve the program for future generations -- and how wonderful of Jenny to provide that funding. Thank you both so much. The ripple effects of this generous gift will certainly be felt across our region."