The Blue Mountains Softball Club has been named the club of the year at the 2018 Softball NSW Awards Night.
Trent Atkins was president of the club for the past four years, before relinquishing the role to become vice president of Penrith City Softball Association.
“It was fantastic because we turned it around in the three or four years I was there,” Atkins said at the awards night held at Rooty Hill RSL on September 8.
“We built up our teams from three or four, increased membership by 44 per cent over the 2017-18 season, we've got all this sponsorship going on so we raised about $20,000 this year in business sponsorship with different ideas which just allows us to make registration cheaper and try to create a fun environment rather than worry about competition.
“We just tried to make it more fun and family-friendly and so people got more into coming and enjoyed coming."
It’s a strategy that has paid off as the club has increased its membership to 144.
To contribute to the fun culture, the club has a family gathering each Saturday after a big day of softball for everyone to discuss the highlights of the day. They also organise family outings during the year, and sometimes there’s dancing and karaoke.
“The main thing we found was that people don't want to come and be involved in all the politics,” Atkins said.
“They just want to come and have fun. Everyone is welcome, and made to feel welcome, just by acknowledging people,” he said.
Blue Mountains Softball Club is part of the Penrith City Softball Association which was crowned the Homeplate Ladder club champion for 2018.
The Homeplate Ladder is Softball Australia’s club and association recognition program established to recognise clubs and associations for implementing best practice governance and management, as well as membership growth and retention.
The association had a good night at the Softball NSW Awards as well, winning the website and social media award, and the association’s Roger Lucas was recognised with a service to Softball NSW award.