The Junior Giants organization in Hollister is all grown up.
Registration is open for the fifth year of Junior Giants in Hollister, and the no-cost program for participants is among several local programs that give youths a chance to play without being a financial issue for families.
“For me, it’s very satisfying that staff sort of took the lead when the chief says, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be kind of cool if we did Junior Giants for the next five years?’” Hollister Police Chief David Westrick said. “They did it the next day.”
Junior Giants is a partnership between the Hollister Police Athletic League and Hollister Recreation locally in conjunction with the San Francisco Giants. The league allows local youths at all skill levels to play baseball at no charge to their families.
Registration is open until May 17.
Westrick in talking about this fifth season for Junior Giants particularly lauded all the volunteers who make it all work.
“Without coaches that volunteer their time, we wouldn’t have a program,” Westrick said.
The police chief has been a big proponent of bringing such activities to Hollister. The city also has a Junior Warriors basketball program and a 49ers Flag Football program along with free tennis offerings as well.
With Junior Giants, Westrick estimated it has served thousands of local youths. Last year, more than 500 kids took part.
“The hope for me is that any kid in our region that wants to play has an opportunity to play since it’s totally free,” Westrick said, adding how it’s offered to youths throughout the county. “For us, it’s important that we remove the financial barrier that so many kids have to face.”
Westrick said he believes every kid deserves an opportunity to fall in love with something they enjoy, whether it’s sports, dance or music.
“And every kid deserves a new bike, too, at least once,” the chief said, referencing the police department’s annual effort around the holidays to give away bicycles to local youths.
From a policing perspective, he said providing such opportunities is at the “core of crime prevention.”