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Junior Blue Crew Program

What’s blue and runs around the diamond?

Article by Softball Canada’s Around the Horn

Softball New Brunswick started their Junior Development Program this year with 14 umpires between the ages of 13-18.   The crew was given their level one course and also attended a mechanics course put on by experienced umpires.  The program has been supported by Stacy Blois (KV Girls Softball Association), Doug Young (Level IV), Sandra Allan (Level V), Andrew Gallant (UIC SNB), Adrien Gaudet (Level 3), Matt Whipple (Level V), the Fredericton Fastpitch Association and the Region 3 Softball Association.

The objective of the program is to promote umpiring and recruit interested youth into the umpire program. As a member of the junior program, youth can receive their registration at a reduced rate and spend the summer being mentored by a senior umpire while working in the province’s minor softball programs. They start off with the middle school (grade 6-8) provincial tournament in June and end it with the U12 provincials in August. During that time they can work their age group or younger minor softball and house league games on the bases in their communities.  They also did several plates with a senior umpire working the bases. Youth umpires can stay as members of the junior development program until they graduate from high school. At any time after they turn 16 they can progress to a higher level, depending on their development, still working with a senior umpire. This is done so as not to discourage their development as an umpire by placing them in situations that they might not be able to handle. It is important that during their development that they have a MENTOR to help them in their progress and to provide guidance and advice.

We were pleased this weekend to support seven of the Junior Blue Crew Development Program at the U12 Softball New Brunswick Provincial Championship and surprised them with a visit from Softball Canada’s National Director of Umpires Jeff Whipple and SNB Provincial UIC Andrew Gallant. Both had some good words of advice and encouragement for the crew


OBJECTIVES OF JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR SNB AND THE UMPIRES BRANCH:

AGE REQUIREMENTS
Anyone 18 years old and under and still in school is eligible to participate in the JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM with Softball New Brunswick and the Umpires Branch.

DEVELOPMENT
It is suggested that the umpires in the JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM work in the Minor Softball programs. Usually it would be best to work in levels where they are the same age or older than the players they are umpiring. This should be done under the supervision of an experienced umpire from their association.
At 16 years of age they could, depending on their development and if they would like to progress to a higher level, start umpiring at a higher level of ball always working with an experienced umpire. This is done so as not to discourage their development as an umpire by placing them in situation that they may not be able to handle. It is important that during their development that they have someone as a MENTOR to help them in their progress and to provide guidance and advice.
At no point can a coach approach a JD Umpire and question his or her call. They must go through the experienced umpire working that game. They will in turn asked the question in a way not to answer for the JD umpire but rather to see if they have any second thoughts about the situation that just occurred and may asked a question to the senior umpire about what just happened.

FEES
Up until the age of 18 the umpires can register with Softball Canada and Softball New Brunswick at a reduced rate. After 18 years of age they must register as a level I umpire.

For more information please contact:

RON CAMPBELL (Provincial UIC) @ (506) 647-2636

RAY BLANCHETTE (EDUCATION COORDINATOR) @ (778)908-4068

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