HISTORY OF THE BAT CAVE
The Fort Dodge Baseball Association (FDBA) is a 501(c)4 organization that was formed by parents of children who were interested in baseball. This in the past has been an AAU sanctioned Association and in the year 2007 switched to a USSSA sanctioned group.
To this day, parents are volunteer coaches, umpires, concession stand workers etc. The FDBA offers baseball opportunities to youth ages 7-13. Typically at the age of 14, the youth move on to the High School programs. It has been the long term goal of the FDBA to provide a facility where our youth teams, including the High School teams and other area baseball youth, would have a facility in order to hit balls, play catch and continue with their baseball skills 12 months out of the year, and during inclement weather. This facility is also being used to house equipment such as pitching machines that had been purchased over the years for the use of our youth teams. After approximately a 2-3 year search, an ideal, centrally located facility was found, a 5 year lease was signed 1-31-06, and 2-1-06 our dream became a reality in the form of the Fort Dodge Hitting Facility, more commonly known by the youth as the "Bat Cave"! As you will see below, we have already invested significant time and dollars to the success of this project.
In the first 30 days of our existence, approximately $11,000 of association money had been spent on improvements and purchasing additional needed equipment such as the three batting cages, installation of clay pitching mounds, new furnaces, lighting. These funds were raised by the youth of the association in the form of dues, selling of annual food products, can drives, and various other fund raisers. A very successful 2 day rummage sale was held in the spring of 2006, and will be held again this year. In-kind labor and donations from the community has been overwhelming including volunteer hours, materials including paint, lighting, and the use of specialized equipment such as scissor lifts etc. We had in the past numerous open houses with service clubs, business donors, individual donors and the FD Chamber to showcase our new facility. We had a 3 on 3 youth baseball clinic on the 25th of March 2006 that was well attended. It is our plans to continue to build on baseball clinics and skill opportunities for our youth that are interested in improving their baseball abilities. It is the intent of the FDBA and the FD Building Committee to have a first class facility that we are proud to show off and display! We feel we are on the right track! The Fort Dodge Sertoma Sundowners have joined us as partners to help raise funds and come up with ideas for use by hearing impaired youth, and other youth of the community and surrounding area. Their initial donation of $5,000 which was used to offset the cost of our artificial turf project was proof of their commitment to our cause.
How does our community benefit? The youth of our community and surrounding area are the BIG winners! The first time anybody walks in to the "Bat Cave", whether a child or parent, the first thing I hear is WOW! We believe if you need a testimonial to our commitment, you should contact our landlord. We firmly believe he thought we were a bunch of parents who wanted to rent a garage and throw baseballs back and forth to each other. He is now a believer in what our dream was from the start! There have been 100's of youth go thru the facility ! On an average there were 40-50 kids a day going thru the various baseball stations at any given time last year beginning in March and April. (i.e soft toss, three batting cages, hitting nets, playing catch, watching baseball videos) This of course slowed down as the weather improved, but this facility will give our baseball and softball youth a year round place to improve on their individual skills, team skills and values that any sport has a chance to offer. These values and the sweat equity that the youth have put in will benefit our community in the future in the form of future leaders and volunteers for our community. The youth that use this facility are as proud as the parents and volunteers that have put this together. Everyone has "stepped up to the plate" to pitch in with cleaning, maintenances and ongoing chores and daily responsibilities that are needed to keep this project running.