If you build it, they will come.
That’s what the organizers of Fields4Kids.org have discovered during the the past five years.
The mission of the community-based, nonprofit organization, founded in January 2009, is to “provide safe and adequate indoor and outdoor playing facilities for the Eastern Maine region.”
Fields4Kids.org is housed on the back side of the Beal College campus, at 129 Farm Road in Bangor, leasing from Beal 12,500 square feet of what was formerly the Saucony shoe factory.
The Fields4Kids facility has two Fieldturf fields, two batting cages and a bounce house, and offers in-house programs and youth and adult leagues as well as rental opportunities for other sports groups.
While many in the greater Bangor area may be unaware of the facility, 1,000 people pass through its doors each week. That’s left Fields4Kids in a bit of a pinch.
“”We’ve maxed out our evening times of 3-11 p.m. weeknights and 8-10 a.m. on weekends,”” said MJ Ball, the group’s executive director.
Improving its existing space and moving into a larger facility always have been part of Fields4Kids’ plans. That’s why three fund-raising efforts are scheduled over the next year.
First up will be the second annual golf tournament on Friday, July 12, at Hermon Meadows Golf Course in Hermon. A shot-gun start is at 9 a.m., preceded by registration and the driving range opening at 8 a.m.
The cost to each golfer is $75 (foursome is $275), with hole sponsors at $250 and green sponsors at $100. There is also a corporate foursome ($450), which includes four player fees, and a hole and green sponsorship. The golfer fees cover 18 holes of golf with use of a golf cart, a coupon for 18 holes of golf at Hermon Meadows (cart not included), use of the driving range, breakfast, lunch, awards and a goodie bag. There also will be hole-in-one, closest to the pin and longest drive competitions, and a putting contest.
Other sponsorship opportunities include: Presenting Sponsor ($3,500), Premier Sponsor ($2,500), Cart Sponsor ($1,500), Beverage Cart Sponsor ($1000), and Contest Sponsors (putting contest, longest drive and closest-to-pin prizes). The event also will have a raffle, some signed sports memorabilia and a silent auction.
The main tournament sponsors lined up so far are Bangor Winelectric, Pepsi, Downeast Orthopedic, ABM Mechanical, Maine Paper and Janitorial Supplies and Varney GMC, which is offering a car as a prize in the hole-in-one competition. Ball said opportunities remain both for golfers and sponsors.
Other planned fundraisers include a casino night and auction March 1, 2014, and a donor wall to be placed on the white cinder block walls at the current facility.
Ball hopes that the funds raised by the golf tourney will cover the next two items that Fields4Kids officials hope to add. First would be a development-marketing position in the organization.
Second would be an 8-by-20-by-16-foot storage area, which would be built coming out from an exterior wall of the current facility. The area, which Ball estimates will cost $10,000-15,000, would hold equipment from teams and leagues that use Fields4Kids’ fields, freeing up more space inside.
But it’s the next phase that will determine Fields4Kids’ future. Ball said that the group’s officials are seeking a lot with 20 usable acres on which to build a 110,000-square-foot building and still have room to create additional outdoor fields as needed. Lots in Orono and Hermon are the current frontrunners.
The new facility would have a bigger multi-purpose field, which, in addition to current uses such as soccer, field hockey and lacrosse, would have the ability to host indoor softball and baseball games, batting cages and three multi-purpose courts for basketball, roller derby, volleyball, futsal, wrestling, cheerleading and fitness classes, with office space, second-floor viewing and bathrooms complete with showers.
“That way, we’d have a year-round usable space for every sport imaginable,” Ball said.
Ball’s estimated date of completion would be fall 2014 to spring 2015.
Ball sees the planned facility as a logical progression toward Fields4Kids’ mission: “As a nonprofit, we’ve done a good job keeping our costs low, and giving back to a lot of different groups, as we’re not driven by the bottom line. We’ve got a good board of directors that understands what we’re trying to do and give of their time and their money.”
For information, call 991-8940, fields4kids.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.