LYNN — One of the values Little League baseball/softball teaches its players is teamwork. Those who play Little League learn the meaning of picking up their teammates during tough moments and coming together as one at young ages.
Teamwork is how the East Lynn Little League hopes to get back on its feet after a January break-in left the organization puzzled.
“When I first heard about the damages I had just been appointed president and I was shaking my head,” said East Lynn President Dan Johannson, who stepped into the position in January. “We’re a league that’s trying to put this together fairly quickly. We’ve been kind of behind. It was kind of a snowball effect.”
The damages included smashed windows, a broken door in the clubhouse, and stolen equipment. Johansson estimated the cost of repairing the damages and stolen equipment to be $2,500. But instead of letting the break-in cast a dark shadow on a bright upcoming season, Johansson chose to keep a positive mindset.
“I decided a long time ago that when bad things happen you have to persevere and push forward,” Johansson said. “I wasn’t going to let it affect me, I wanted to be a good influence to the board, reaching out to kids and telling them they’ll have a good time playing ball.”
Now, with a team effort from members of the community, East Lynn will look to raise money to help offset the costs. A fundraiser will be Friday, April 12 at Salem’s Waterfront Hotel. The idea stemmed from a few East Lynn parents and gained traction from there.
“Some of our players’ parents work at the hotel and they mentioned how the league was in trouble, being broken into and vandalized,” Johansson said. “And the owner moved very quickly to make all the necessary arrangements to help us put this on.”
Admission to the fundraiser will cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids. All registered East Lynn players will be admitted free of charge. The fundraiser will run from 7 to 11 p.m. and will include raffles, hor d’oeuvres, a cash bar and a professional photo booth.
“We want this to be a family friendly event where people can come and know they’re supporting a great cause,” Johansson said. “I still remember when I was a kid playing Little League in my hometown. If you played, I don’t think you can forget. I just want every kid to be able to experience that.”
Organizing the fundraiser has been a true team effort. Johansson gave credit to the Rockett Family of Marblehead for the generosity shown toward East Lynn’s needs. He also applauded Ashley Spina, the East Lynn Vice President of Fundraising.
“All the credit here goes out to the Rockett family and his awesome employees,” Johansson said, “and I want to give a big shout-out to my VP of fundraising, Ashley Spina, who’s working tirelessly to promote this. We also have great supporters in the community who’ll be providing raffle items. All kinds of things are going on.”
Johansson hopes the fundraiser will bring the community together.
“I’m hoping to see a bunch of people come together, support a great cause and have a good time,” Johansson said. “There’s going to be a lot of good raffles. These people should just know they’re going to have fun. We’ll try to raise some money and we’ll have a good season of baseball and softball.”
Registration for those interested in playing baseball/softball in East Lynn ends Saturday. Those interested in registering can sign up Saturday (until 3 p.m.) at Breed Middle School.