ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
The Liberal Bee Jays will be starting their season soon, and as they start arriving in town, they will need a place to stay for the summer.
With that in mind, the Liberal Bee Jays board is seeking host families for players for the summer.
“What we've been trying to do is, we typically have lists from a few years back of host families, and then I contact them to see if they're interested in being a host family again,” Bee Jays Host Coordinator Travis Martinez said. “For families interested in doing this for the first time, they just need to get in touch with the Bee Jays either on Facebook, or they can call me at (620) 655-2659. This is my third year coordinating all the host homes, and I always tell people it's a good experience. We try to put the team members in homes two at a time so they have someone there with them, and we have board members who sometimes take on more. There's not really any paperwork or anything needed to become a host, the main thing is they just need to reach out to the board and let them know they're interested. Typically, there are 26 to 28 players on the team each summer, so we usually have about 15 to 18 homes, and most of the players come from different states. We're fortunate to have board members who board multiple players and other community members who board multiple players. This year, we still have 10 players who need a host home, so we need people in the community to take this on for this summer, and like I said, it's always a good experience.”
With the season starting in only a few weeks, Martinez said the deadline is rapidly approaching for families to express their interest.
“For families looking to be a Bee Jays host family, we like to have all the families settled in about the third week of May, because that's close to when the players start coming in to town and need lodging,” Martinez said. “That's approaching pretty quick and again, if there's anyone looking to be a host family, they can just reach out to any Bee Jays board member or myself, and we'll get everything set up.”
Overall, Martinez said, it is a good experience for both the players and the host families.
“We always do a survey at the end of the season for the players and how they felt about their experience with the families, and they're always pretty positive,” Martinez said. “Some of the players would rather be by themselves, some would rather go to a home with a teammate, it just depends on the person, but most of the players express how they enjoyed interacting with the families and going to functions and all of that with them. We also try to host a big thank you event at the end of the season for the host families to express our appreciation to everyone who took on the players. From the player aspect, they enjoy being part of another family for a summer and coming to Liberal and all of that. From the family aspect, they enjoy having the players in their homes and their children enjoy having a big brother around. This year, we're having players come from several different schools and several different states, and in the past, we've had multiple families be host families for multiple summers, which is great. If you're interested in being a host family to one of the Bee Jays players for this summer, we'll be more than happy to welcome you, and signing up for that is pretty straightforward. We've got several players coming in to town and it'll be a great experience for everyone.”