Approach

"Our focus isn't on trying to win every game when you're ten, it's on preparing our young athletes to learn to play the game the right way, so they can win more games in high school and beyond."

Overview 

Arlington Heights Thunder Fastpitch is a regional travel softball program comprised of athletes from Arlington Heights and the surrounding communities formed in 2017 to fill a need for players that were interested in learning how to play the game the right way without the traditional commitment of year-round travel. We believe that it’s very important that young athletes continue to participate in multiple activities and constructed our program and schedule to enable them to continue to improve their fastpitch abilities while also participating in other sports and activities. We focus heavily on player development and fundamentals to ensure that all of our athletes are constantly improving, leading to success now and at the next level. All funds received go to support our young athletes and all Board and Director positions are filled by volunteer members.

Mission and Goals 

Our mission is to maximize the potential of each individual as a young adult, student, and athlete while creating a supportive fastpitch environment that enables our participants to achieve success both on and off the field. Learning to work hard and remain positive through adversity and failure will prove invaluable as our athletes grow and mature. 

We commonly highlight the benefit of being a part of our fastpitch Family. For example, we routinely have players from our older teams working with younger players to encourage and enable this relationship across teams. Our Family creed has proven to be a key contributor to one of our paramount goals of stressing togetherness in an effort to build lifelong friendships that extend off the field. 

Along with our philosophy of helping young athletes reach their full potential, we believe in the following core values that define the Thunder Fastpitch program: 
  • Trust - Thunder earn the trust of their teammates 
  • Honesty - Thunder are honest about their actions (no matter who’s watching) and always strive to do the right thing 
  • Unity - Thunder win or lose together 
  • Need - Thunder do what’s necessary to prepare for every situation, on and off the field 
  • Devotion - Thunder are committed to their team, education, family and community 
  • Effort - Thunder bring full energy everyday 
  • Respect - Above all else, Thunder respect the game 
These principles guide our approach to ensure that our players succeed on and off the field. 

Our 2020 - 21 program includes:
  • Training mid-August --> July (with a break November --> mid January)
  • Friendlies plus one or two tournaments in the fall
  • 1x - 2x per week indoor training (mid January - April)
  • Outside instruction for hitting and pitching
  • Friendlies against other local travel teams
  • 4 - 6 tournaments


Bylaws

We invite you to view our organization's bylaws by clicking here.

Board and Officers 

The Thunder Fastpitch Board of Directors and all off-field positions are filled by volunteers. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we rely heavily on volunteers and sponsors. Become a part of the Thunder Family, our young athletes need your talent! 

As the season progresses, we will need volunteers for the following positions and much more: 
  • Shifts as a tournament site coordinator or field manager for Thunder-hosted events 
  • Tournament vendor coordinators 
  • Uniform ordering and vendor relations 
  • Equipment inventory manager 
  • Board membership 
  • Team parents who assists coaches with administrative duties 
  • Parent representatives for each team 
Maybe you have ideas for other opportunities? Please let us know by emailing ahthunder1@gmail.com

Here is a list of our current positions: 
 
Board of Directors (volunteer) 
  • President and Treasurer:  Jon Kee 
  • Vice President:  Mike Lindberg 
  • Secretary:  Mark DelBoccio 

Directors and Officers (volunteer) 

  • Player Development Director and High School Liaison:  Jessica Franco 
  • Fundraising Director:  Scott Kirch 
  • Sponsorship Director:  Open 
  • Video Coordinator:  Scott Eidle 
  • Travel Directors:
    • 9u: Open
    • 10u: Open
    • 11u:  Karl Cielak, Jon Kee 
    • 12u:  Matt Whitson 
    • 13u:  Matt DeRosa, Mike Linker 
    • 14u:  Open
    • 16u:  Chris Cosgrove 
  • Parent Representatives:
    • 9u: Open
    • 10u: Open
    • 11u:  Dana Sorensen, open
    • 12u:  Open 
    • 13u:  Lisa Jordan, Wendy Concklin 
    • 14u:  Open 
    • 16u:  Kim Bronder


Code of Conduct 

As an organization, we adhere to the Six Pillars of Character Counts, the gold medal standard for youth sports. Thunder Fastpitch recognizes that youth sports programs should be designed to provide a sporting environment that is safe and fosters the opportunities to have fun, build character, learn and practice sportsmanship and develop skills for pursuing healthy, ethical and responsible adult lives. 

Six Pillars of Character Counts 

It is the responsibility of every teammate, participant, volunteer, coach, trainer and parent to abide by the Six Pillars of Character Counts in all sporting activities. 

Trustworthiness 

It is a goal of Thunder Fastpitch to promote trustworthiness among their board, volunteers, teammates, trainers, coaches, parents and officiating staff by: 
  • Demonstrating and demanding integrity; 
  • Observing and enforcing the spirit and letter of the rules of the game; 
  • Not compromising education and character-development goals; and 
  • Not engaging in or tolerating dishonesty, cheating or dishonorable conduct. 

Respect 

The respect expected in ordinary life in the classroom or at home shall be the norm on the playing and practice fields. Reasonable people have reasonable differences and mutual respect provides the basis of expressing these differences. The coach’s role as teacher is to give clear positive instructions to the players. Parents are expected to respectfully express any alternative views at an appropriate manner and time off the field and away from the participants. It is a goal of Thunder Fastpitch to promote respect among players for the game, for their teammates, for opposing players, for the coaching staff and for the officiating staff through: 
  • Treating the traditions of the sport and other participants with respect; 
  • Not engaging in or tolerating disrespectful conduct, including verbal abuse of opponents, officials, teammates, coaching staff or others, taunting, profane or belligerent “trash talking,” or excessive and unseemly celebrations; and 
  • Winning with grace and losing with dignity. 

Responsibility 

Every parent, player, participant and volunteer or staff member of Thunder Fastpitch is responsible for his or her own words and actions. They will further demonstrate responsibility for the environment by ensuring that the practice fields and game fields are left in a clean and safe manner. Parents are expected to further demonstrate responsibility by having his/her child at practice and games on time and prepared. Players are to be equally responsible for coming to practice and games prepared and ready to participate. Thunder Fastpitch and all of their participants will further pursue the pillar of responsibility by: 
  • Being positive role models on and off the field; 
  • Furthering the mental, social and moral development of athletes and teaching life skills that enhance personal success and social responsibility; and 
  • Maintaining competence including basic knowledge of character building, first aid and safety and coaching principles, rules and strategies. 

Fairness 

It is the goal of Thunder Fastpitch to promote fairness among the players and to provide a fair playing environment by: 
  • Adhering to high standards of fair play; 
  • Treating players fairly according to their abilities; 
  • Never taking an unfair advantage; and 
  • Being open minded. 

Caring 

It is the goal of Thunder Fastpitch to promote caring in the sports environment so as to provide a situation in which coaching, officiating, and parent involvement will demonstrate compassion, sensitivity and volunteerism as a model for team members, including assuring that the academic, emotional, physical and moral well-being of athletes is always placed above desires and pressures to win. Citizenship Thunder Fastpitch is opposed to bullying, hazing, teasing and other conduct that degrades good citizenship. Through the commitment to the Six Pillars of Character Counts, it is the goal of Thunder Fastpitch to promote citizenship among all of its participants such that all team members, staff and parents will act in accordance with the values of good citizenship by: 
  • Avoiding gamesmanship and promoting sportsmanship by honoring the rules and goals of the sport; 
  • Establishing codes of conduct for coaches, athletes, parents and spectators; 
  • Demanding compliance with all laws and regulations, including those relating to gambling and the use of drugs. 


Sponsorship 

Arlington Heights Thunder Fastpitch is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible. All funds received go to support our fastpitch program, our Board of Directors and leadership are all volunteer members. Generous support from local residents and businesses promotes our mission and directly benefits youth athletics in the community. 

Here are some of the ways to support Thunder Fastpitch: 
  • Support Thunder Fastpitch with a one-time or recurring tax-deductible gift. 
    • Monetary donations by check can be made payable to Arlington Heights Thunder Fastpitch. 
  • Ask your business to support the Thunder and be featured on our team banners, which are displayed at every game and tournament.
  • Donate equipment or supplies. 
  • Advertise your business on our website. 
  • Become a tournament sponsor. 
    • Tournament sponsorship may include opportunities for advertising on banners, welcome packets, or tournament awards. 
  • Sponsor team building activities such as Bandits of Tomorrow games and exhibitions. 
  • Sponsor awards for league and tournament play. 


Parental Responsibilities 

Parents of participants in Thunder Fastpitch are expected to be aware of and abide by our mission statement, policies and procedures. Parents will conduct themselves in a civil, responsible, ethical and fair manner. Parents will exhibit positive role modeling, will refrain from negative behavior, and will equally support all members of the team. Parents will not engage with umpires, opposing coaches, or opposing parents unless it is in a congratulatory manner. Parents will further provide guidance for constructive attitudes and expectations. Parents will also encourage children to serve as role models in accordance with the Six Pillars of Character Counts. 

Any infraction or alleged infraction of the Code of Conduct should be reported immediately to the President. Infractions will be dealt with upon review of all parties involved and penalties will be imposed if appropriate. 

Penalties for such offenses may include:
  • a verbal warning
  • a single game suspension
  • a multiple game suspension 
For extreme cases, immediate and indefinite suspension or expulsion for the participant(s) involved will be considered. Repeated violations by any manager, player or spectator may require that the individual be removed from the team and/or suspended from future participation.