Howard County Youth Program set to turn 62 next month

This coming February, the Howard County Youth Program will celebrate its 62nd birthday. The idea for the program was originally formulated in the offices of the Ellicott City Times newspaper, which was then located on Main Street.

In fact, it was editor Charles Gerwig and two of his employees at the time — Keith Fisher and Harry Walker — who came up with the idea that eventually became the Howard County Little League in 1952 after a meeting with the founder of the Little League, Carl Stotz, in Pennsylvania.

That was the beginning of it all, and the program is still flourishing today because of a number of important factors.

First, HCYP never rests on the status quo. The program is always looking to the future, and we can expect some major innovations over the next decade.

Secondly, if you read the history of HCYP as I have, you can't help but notice the number of commissioners it has introduced over the years. The individual accomplishments of those commissioners ranges from improving field conditions, improving the concession stand and equipment building, bringing in lights, requiring an inning minimum for all players on a team, establishing a travel program and building a working relationship with the county.

All these steps, along with so many others, have meant a better program for both boys and girls. Altogether, the program currently is centered on three sports: baseball, softball and basketball.

Volleyball was dropped because of low turnout.

There are approximately 2,500 youngsters currently involved in baseball and softball, along with another 2,500 individuals participating in basketball and another 1,000 enrolling in camps.

The program seems to have the knack of drawing in new people with new ideas. New names pop up all the time and that contributes to a growing and healthy program.

So it's 62 years of service to the community, and we are better for all the sacrifices made by many on behalf of young ballplayers and the community as a whole.

I have no doubt that this is an organization that will continue to grow and succeed for years to come.

Iron Girl registration

It continues to amaze me that in order to participate in the Columbia Iron Girl Triathlon, which this year is scheduled for Aug. 17, you have to be ready to register more than eight months in advance.

Registration officially opened on Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. That same day, registration also opened for the Iron Girl Rocky Gap Triathlon, which is scheduled for Sept. 7.

In other words, for those who hesitate and can't decide whether they are in or out, it may end up being too late. These spots fill up so fast that there is literally no time for procrastinating.

It's crazy to think that back in 1984, when things first started with the triathlon in the area, there were many that questioned whether the event would even survive. Now look how far things have come.

Looking ahead

As we begin a new year, let's try to be a bit more understanding of each other. I spent some of last year beginning to look into the history of sports here in Howard County and I came to realize that we have generally done a good job in recognizing diversity.

But there is always room for growth moving forward and hopefully we will continue doing that in the future.

I personally will pass on my thanks for those who helped get me through a rather rough year in 2013.

I end by wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2014.

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