League History

 The Miracle League of the Fox Valley (the League) was formed in 2008 by Fox Valley parents Lisa and Mark Robbins.  Their son, Michael played on a Miracle League team during the summer of 2008 in Allouez through the Miracle League of Green Bay.  The experience was life changing for their son and their family.  Because of the positive outcome of this experience, they felt it would be a worthy program addition to the Fox Valley.  The Miracle League of the Fox Valley is affiliated with the National Miracle League Association. The first Miracle League field opened in Conyers, GA.: April 1998.  The League will become one of over 225 Miracle League fields in 44 states.  The Miracle League became a program of Goodwill Industries NCW in March 2009 to aid in start-up administrative support and have been working with the City of Appleton since October of 2008.  The Miracle League is an organized baseball league for children, ages 4-19, with physical and/or mental disabilities.

The mission of the League:  "every child deserves the chance to play baseball". 

There is a large population of children in the Fox Valley with Special Needs. This group of children, from 23 school districts, drawn from a 30 mile radius of Appleton totals over 9,500. (WI Department of Public Instruction data reports this in our service area). This group of children is typically under served and there are limited services offered during the summer.  In addition, there are few, if any organized sports options. The Miracle League will fill a need that is great.  Through the League this group of children will make new friends, be part of a team, learn new skills and look forward to their weekly games, just like their peers.  Each child will have unique benefits, based on their particular situation but in general, parents and teachers will see improvement in a child's motor skills, hand-eye coordination, attention and interest span, ability to follow directions, social skills and interests, self-esteem and confidence.  Their parents will have the opportunity to meet and network with other families that have children with special needs. 

The League's volunteer organization will engage approx. 15 adults as board and committee members, fundraisers, and coordinators, many of whom will be relatives of children in the League, forming new friendships and outlets for supporting and enjoying their children's participation.  The League will develop at least 16 team and season sponsors from area organizations and businesses (just like any other youth sports league).  The sponsors will develop a pride and attachment to their team, and will help their employees and customers better understand the capacities of the Miracle League players.  

This is a community league and hundreds of volunteers will be needed to make the league successful. These opportunities will include, but not limited to: buddies (only need to be 13 years old), umpires, announcers, coaches, asst. coaches, etc.  Many of these volunteers will be people from the community who may not have had previous experience working with children with disabilities.  The buddy role provides a meaningful way to help a child, but also to develop knowledge, understanding and friendship and will be a life-enriching experience for the volunteer.  

Each Miracle League player is paired with a buddy, who accompanies the child and assists them in whatever way necessary to hit, round the bases and field, all the while having fun and developing a season-long relationship.  Local volunteers familiar with Special Olympics note that the non-competitive nature of Miracle League play and the opportunity to engage children as young as 4yo will differentiate the Miracle League from Special Olympics giving children and families another option for sports involvement. 

The Miracle League is like other youth leagues when it comes to uniforms, volunteer coaches and team coordinators, team sponsorships, team photos and trophies.  


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