By: Hannah Reid

Dart cultivates a field of dreams

Dart cultivates a field of dreams

For more than 30 years, the Field of Dreams on Grand Cayman has been the site of home runs, corporate cups and day camps.
Each year, more than 3,000 residents use the facility, including more than 400 children on Little League rosters.

A significant donation from Dart will help ensure the facility can continue to serve the community for many years to come.
Dart's donation, which amounts to CI$350,000 over 10 years, will support a comprehensive plan for capital development on the property.

YMCA of the Cayman Islands Chairman David Watler welcomed the commitment from Dart.

"The YMCA entered into a partnership with the Cayman Islands Little League in 2018 and has since operated the programmes and maintained the facilities at the Field of Dreams," he said. "The Field of Dreams renovation project, valued at $2.7 million, involves the complete replacement and upgrade of all four ball fields and associated facilities at the complex."

aerial view of softball field

Originally built in 1998, the Field of Dreams is used for Little League t-ball and baseball, adult softball, school break camps and team-building activities.

"The Field of Dreams provides a unique environment for kids and families from all parts of our island to interact and build a stronger community," Watler said.

Mark VanDevelde, Dart’s chief executive officer, said the organisation has a long history of partnering with both the YMCA and Cayman Islands Little League Association.

“Twenty years ago, we partnered with Little League to build the first clubhouse at the Field of Dreams because we recognised the value of community spaces," he said. "Since then, the site has welcomed the YMCA and expanded its offerings. We are excited to continue this partnership with a donation towards the refurbishment of this important facility, which serves a wide cross section of our community all year round."

The YMCA and the Little League Association partnered in 2018 to pool their resources for the benefit of the Cayman community.

“On behalf of the Y and Little League, we would like to take this opportunity to again thank Dart for this generous lead donation and for continuing to support the Y for many years now," Watler said. "Without this significant donation and the contributions of other donors, we would not be able to provide these much-needed facilities and programmes for the benefit of local youths and adults."

VanDevelde said Dart recognises the positive role that sports can play in youth development and the important, indirect benefits of learning, practicing, competing and enjoying sports.

“At an individual level, participating in sports can help cultivate important attributes such as self-confidence, perseverance, discipline and technical abilities," he said, adding that at a community level, regular participation in sports can improve community health and wellbeing, and strengthen social cohesion and national pride.

“Whether it’s an individual or team sport, sports brings people of all nationalities, ages and genders together and builds important skills like leadership and teamwork," he said. "Through our annual Dart Grants programme and larger donations such as this one, we invest in our community because we know a healthy society is key to our islands’ sustainable future.”

Through donations, the Little League Association has kept participation in its programmes free for 30 years.

“We are very excited about what this important renovation project will mean for our community,” said Little League President John Cridland. “Updating our facilities and installing new turf will contribute to a safe environment for our players of all ages to develop new skills and friendships.”

The public can support the renovation project through direct donations by visiting littleleague.ky or contacting info@littleleague.ky.

This article appears in print in the January 2022 edition of Camana Bay Times.

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