It’s not every day that folks can say they have helped shape the life of a future baseball superstar.
But, that’s exactly what dozens of families are doing throughout Southwest Riverside, when they agree to serve as a host family for Lake Elsinore Storm players.
“It’s a pretty unique thing. And a lot of fun to be part of helping out the players,” said program coordinator Dilayla Thor.
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Thor added that the program was founded in 1992 and is supported by the Lake Elsinore Storm Booster Club as a way of alleviating the costs of Southern California living by offering food and shelter to Storm players.
But, she added that providing the players with the comforts of home and family is also an important component of the program’s success.
Most players spend hours at the field, Thor said, so it nice for players to be able to come home to a hot meal and a warm bed before waking up to head back to The Diamond for more practice and another game.
Thor said that host families are asked to provide a room and board free of charge. A bed is a must; a private bathroom would be a nice bonus, if possible.
Players are placed in residences that are generally within 15 miles or so of The Diamond in Lake Elsinore, including Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar and Winchester. Some of the players will have their own cars and will arrange to carpool with other players to the park. Thor said she is hoping to attract 20-25 host families willing to open their homes from April to Sept.
As for the family’s daily routine, players will be working many hours at the field, but will sometimes take part in family meals and events.
While the team takes care of washing uniforms, the players will need access to a washer and dryer for their own clothes.
The families best suited to the program are ones that can “go with the flow,” enjoy baseball and are interested in helping along a young man as he chases a dream.
Thor noted that special accommodations are made when matching up families and players based on the application process, such as pet allergies.
Host families are encouraged to get out to the Storm games and root hard for their player, as they each receive free tickets to the home games and are invited to participate in tailgate festivities, too.
“It’s a lot of fun. We love the games and going to the welcome dinners,” Thor said.
An informational meeting is currently being planned in March at a time and date to be announced.
Kerri S. Mabee is the managing editor of Southwest Riverside News Network. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.