Editor's Note: This is the next in a series of articles about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
WILLIAMSTOWN - The Williamstown Community Association provides a variety of recreational and sports programs for 500-600 participants annually.
The association is part of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, and according to United Way officials receives about $7,500 each year to help fund the non-profit association's programs, including providing scholarships for needy children to participate.
Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford tosses out the first pitch on opening day this season.
Dr. Steven Eddy, association executive director, said the organization started in 1943 with the pool, baseball and summer basketball leagues. The program currently includes children as young as 4 years old, but children even younger often are part of the fun walks and winter run the association sponsors, he said.
"We may have infants in strollers participating in the walks with their parents," Eddy said.
The baseball and softball programs include students up to 18 years.
Seventeen-year-old Brye Mullenix and brother Braden, 14, both started in the association programs when they were 4 years old playing teeball.
"The rec league gives them the opportunity to make new friends, meet new people because there are kids on the teams from Marietta, St. Marys, Waverly, Parkersburg, all over, kids they are not in school with. They have also learned leadership. The coaches are pretty dedicated, and they teach the kids responsibility, accountability and playing as a team," said mom Janaa Mullenix.
Eddy said the association also has a summer outdoor basketball league.
"We have a new pool, it's no longer under the auspices of the association, it is operated through the (city of Williamstown) by a pool management company now," he said.
Over the years, the association has brought to Williamstown a variety of organized sports and other activities for children and has built and maintained facilities to make them possible. With the help of volunteers, the association operates ballfields offering teeball, baseball and softball for its organized sports offerings for children from throughout the area and across the river as well.
"We are always doing capital improvements to all the facilities we have, the Williamstown Bank donated the baseball and softball fields a couple of years ago and there is equipment. We had a playground program for a couple of years, so we tried to help out with the playground in the park," Eddy said. "The United Way contributions are really what help us to do these things including providing the scholarships for the kids."
The all-volunteer association also receives funding from the Dr. Steven Eddy Foundation, Fenton Foundation and fundraisers, including concessions, and sponsors from local businesses.