A group of community volunteers came together in 2012 and decided to build a Miracle League field in Manitowoc to provide the opportunity to more people in the community. At that time, 25 families were driving to the Miracle League of Green Bay.
The Miracle League of the Lakeshore is affiliated with the National Miracle League Association. The first Miracle League field opened in Conyers, Ga., in 1998. The league is one of more than 240 Miracle Leagues across the country, including Puerto Rico and Canada, while serving 200,000 plus children and adults. The Miracle League of the Lakeshore became a program of Goodwill NCW in 2012, and fundraising for the project began in 2013. The first games were played in 2014.
This is a community league with hundreds of volunteers needed to make the league successful. These opportunities include buddies (only need to be 13 years old), umpires, announcers, coaches and assistant coaches. Many of these volunteers are people from the community who may not have had previous experience working with children with disabilities. The buddy role provides a meaningful way to help a child successfully play the game, and it also allows the volunteer to develop knowledge, understanding and friendship which leads to a life-enriching experience for all.
The Miracle League is like other youth leagues when it comes to uniforms, volunteer coaches and team coordinators, sponsorships, team photos and trophies. Local volunteers familiar with Special Olympics note that the noncompetitive nature of Miracle League play and the opportunity to engage children as young as 4 will differentiate the Miracle League from Special Olympics, giving children and families another option for sports involvement.