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Blue Sox seek host families for players

Date: 5/17/2011

May 18, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE — Do you have a spare bedroom and the ability to open your home and heart to a member of the Holyoke Blue Sox? If so, the team needs you.

With the date of June 1 approaching quickly the date when the college baseball players from around the nation will come to Holyoke to play in the summer league, the team is looking for 10 families that could host a player for the two-month season.

Jackie Lehouillier, the coordinator for host families for the team, explained to Reminder Publications the families need to be able to provide an unshared bedroom with furniture — bed, dresser or closet — as well as access to laundry facilities to a player.

The host family would also feed the player, she added.

They are encouraged to come to games and "cheer them on," Lehouillier said.

"They are there to support them through the season," she explained.

Lehouillier has hosted players and said, "I know first hand how wonderful this is ... [There is] a really, really good feeling you get."

This is the second year Lehouillier and her family has been involved with the Blue Sox, and she said, "Our family has found hosting to be a fun, exciting, and rewarding experience. The atmosphere at McKenzie Stadium is extremely family friendly; our children love being able to join the players on the field after the game, talk with them, and get their autographs."

Host families are not asked to provide transportation for players while they are here. Some players bring their cars, while others don't and the players are asked to arrange local trips with each other.

Families may be asked, though, to pick up a player at either Bradley or Logan International Airports and while Lehouillier said that may be asking a lot from a host family she has found the trip back from the airport gives players and host "time to bond."

Host families do not receive compensation, but do get season tickets to the Blue Sox , a host family t-shirt for each member of the family, an open invitation to Blue Sox events and concession vouchers for the home games, she said.

Lehouillier hopes to be able to find the 10 families the teams needs by May 20, but will continue recruiting until June 1.

Past host families have been in Holyoke as well as in Wilbraham, East Longmeadow, Westfield and South Hadley, she noted.

For more information, contact Lehouillier at 250-2971 or at jlehouil@verizon.net.



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