Livingston Gear Exchange

  • Location
    Livingston, New Jersey
  • Status
  • Age Level
    5 to 7 Years
    8 to 10 Years
    11 to 13 Years

The Problem

To provide baseball equipment and instruction to our community kids in order to instill a love of baseball in the next generation. Baseball is known as America’s favorite pastime, but the gear required to play is very expensive and kids quickly outgrow their gear. We want to lessen the financial burden for our community by providing sanitized and refurbished gear to those in need. This project will help both the community and the environment by keeping this gear out of landfills.

Our Plan

Our project is to collect used equipment, sanitize and refurbish it and then hold several events where our team will teach kids how to properly select and use equipment and how to play the game.

Themes Addressed

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    Community Enhancement
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The Benefit

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Here is how the project went:

This was our second year running the Livingston Gear Exchange and we did run into a few challenges. In our first year we partnered with the Livingston Little League who offered a minimal credit at Little League registration for those who donated gear. This proved to be even more valuable than we anticipated. Our first year we collected so much gear that we were able to run multiple events in Livingston and then donated more gear to other communities in need. In our second year we continued to partner with the Livingston Little League, but we did not offer a monetary incentive to participate. This taught us a lesson in economics. By not offering a monetary incentive, our donation level decreased. While we were able to collect some gear, we did not have the same volume that we had in the first year. We had to brainstorm ideas to increase our gear supply. (1) We offered events run at the Little League to provide free instruction for anyone who donated gear. This proved to be very valuable in a few ways. We were able to increase our supply and ended up hosting community events for kids and parents who could learn baseball and socialize. We were so happy that the community really embraced our event. We received such positive feedback that we hosted several more events. Word spread and at one event we hosted over 50 people. (2) We applied for and were awarded a mini-grant from Roots and Shoots. This mini-grant was used to purchase more gear for our supply as we noticed that the smaller sizes were the first to go. We were also able to purchase new straps for the gloves and bat grip to make all of our donations look brand new! Our events were very well attended and with our donations and the mini-grant provided by Roots and Shoots we were able to donate the excess gear to other communities. We like the challenge each year of first collecting the gear from scratch and then distributing it.

Through this project I/we learned:

The second year we ran the Livingston Gear Exchange was a lesson in resilience. We had to work extra hard to obtain the gear. We also learned that we need to inventory the gear. Many adults emailed us asking about specific gear and it would have been easier to have an inventory to refer to, rather than the storage closet.

What I/we might change:

We plan to continue this event annually and continue to learn and grow from our experience. In fact, at our last event a parent asked if there are any other sports that have this event. There are not, so we are potentially going to reach out to other sports to see if we can run events for them as well. We would also like to get others involved nationally in this event as we believe that this can easily be set up in other communities as long as there is a student leader willing to learn and work hard.

My/our favorite part of this project was:

Baseball has become such a large part of our lives. Baseball is not only a game of skill, but a lesson in adversity. You fail more than you succeed in baseball. This is a life lesson that can be translated to other parts of your life. We think that it is important to allow all children the opportunity to learn baseball and to be part of a team and community. We feel accomplished by seeing the look of joy on the kids faces. These kids gained confidence and skill through the gear that we can help provide. For some, they have never had their own gear to use and for others we instructed them in proper form and watched as they started to learn to catch and hit. We also feel good that by using donated gear, we are adding new life to gear that would just sit around in someone’s garage. We clean the gear and make it look new which is better for the environment.

Some tips, tricks or fun facts about the project:

We would love to introduce our concept to other communities, but we need your help. We are planning on making tutorials to teach others how to set up this initiative. Stay tuned!

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