Earlier this spring, baseball diamonds around the country crackled to life, as kids emerged from a rain-soaked winter with fresh gloves and hats -- and dreams to match.
But it was about more than just hits and runs. Studies point to a positive correlation between participation in organized youth sports and greater academic success, concentration, and self-esteem. Youth sports have also been linked to the development of the “5 C’s”: competence, confidence, connection, compassion, and character.
Two years ago, researchers from Cornell University discovered longer-lasting outcomes. Through a survey of World War II veterans, these researchers found connections between participation in youth sports and long-term career success, as well as higher rates of leadership and volunteerism, that persisted for more than 55 years.
This research suggests a simple idea: one place to look for high performing workplace teams of tomorrow is to the youth teams on our fields of play today.
As an HR company, we care a lot about building healthy and effective teams – for today and tomorrow. So this year we’re partnering with Friends of Baseball, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit that works to create athletic and academic opportunities for underserved children.
Organizations like Friends of Baseball use youth sports as a vehicle to reach, engage, and nurture children. According to a 2013 ESPN report, 3.5 million kids in the United States will lose access to sports this decade. Friends of Baseball is working to reverse this trend. In the last year, the organization has established after school programs at several Portland-area public schools.
Our new partnership with Friends of Baseball is unique, and we hope it can provide a model for other local companies and nonprofits. With the cost of office space skyrocketing, we’re incubating Friends of Baseball within our office – providing workspace, meeting space, Internet, and supplies. We also encourage an active dialogue between our employees and Friends of Baseball – sharing ideas for furthering our joint goal of developing the skills and character of children in our region. The research tells us that these small investments can pay long-term dividends for all of us.
But you don’t need to come to our office to see Friends of Baseball’s mission in action. This spring, stop by a baseball or softball field on a Saturday afternoon. Relax in the bleachers and watch our kids hit, catch, and throw their way to a deeper understanding of the power of teamwork, self-confidence, and respect, no matter what curveballs come their way. Together we’re building, one pitch at a time, the next generation of children who, when their time comes to step the plate as adults, will be ready to knock it out of the park.
CEO, Mammoth HR
Vice President, Friends of Baseball Board of Directors