Teams will be going to bat against a disorder that affects 1 in 66 children in Canada at the Napanee Fairgrounds on Sept. 21 in the first ever Softball For Autism Tournament.
Hosted by the Lennox and Addington County Autism Network, the day long tournament will see 10 teams take part.
Money raised will be donated to 10 local families to help cover things such as respite care, support workers, technological devices for communication or therapy costs.
Event organizer Scott Piontek said teams were quick to jump on board, with the 10 slots already full with players on a waiting list in case space becomes available.
“It’s unique because we’re giving back 100 per cent of everything,” said Piontek.
He notes that because it’s all run by volunteers with donated items, there’s no administration fees like those that are attached to similar fundraisers.
“The way it works, each team selects a family or child living with autism,” said Piontek. “If a team didn’t have somebody, we’ll place a kid with them that we know with a local family. The majority of them came in and gave us the name of a local child living with autism. At the end of the tournament, all the money that’s raised between tournament entry fees, home run bracelets, (a bracelet that allows a select player on each team the ability to hit as many home runs as possible without it being counted as an out), the barbecue, I have everything 100 per cent donated for the barbecue from No Frills in Napanee. Every dollar will be evenly distributed to the 10 families.”
A number of local businesses have already stepped forward to donate items and more donations are still being accepted leading up to Sept. 21.
Though they have enough teams this time around, anyone looking to volunteer at the event can get in contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They’re looking for help with the raffle tables of serving as an umpire. Members of the public are also welcome to take part in the silent auction, even if they aren’t registered for the tournament. Businesses are still welcome to donate to the silent auction as well.
Based on the early success of their first tournament, Piontek says there are plans to expand for next year. He’s looking at hosting up to four tournaments next year, including looking into a domed facility for winter months. He’s even working on the idea of running a 24-hour tournament, with ball being played at all hours of the day.