Posts Tagged ‘play’

Dunbar Little League

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Champion of Dunbar Village.

You can almost hear the aluminum bat ping, smell the burgers on the grill and feel the teams’ collective energy as David Berrington enthusiastically describes his involvement with Dunbar Little League (DLL).

David-Berrington-DLL-Dunbar-LifeDavid is president of DLL’s board and he’s a huge fan of the organization. This season DLL celebrates its sixtieth season, making it Vancouver’s second oldest Little League. Although the season is short, three months in total from April to June, in addition to tournament season (mid-June to the end of July), DLL is a true community anchor.

Volunteers are fully responsible for running DLL and there is no problem getting people out to lend a hand. David says, “This is not drop and go, this is drop and participate.”

“We have the strongest volunteer base of any league we interact with. We measure our success by our community spirit.” David Berrington

An example of community spirit is the pre-season field preparation workday; approximately 150 people turn out every year without fail. They come equipped with hoes, shovels and rakes to weed, put up fences, and spread “red gold” which is what David jokingly says they call the expensive dirt.

He mentions that season openers draw as many as 500 kids and 1,000 family members. He adds, “No other Dunbar events have a turn out like this.” Closing day also draws huge crowds. An annual parade kicks off the day, beginning at West King Edward Avenue and processes, complete with police escorts, along Dunbar Street to Memorial Park. With as many as 700 kids, coaches and parents joining in, by the time they reach the park the numbers double in size with the awaiting crowd.

Community celebrations are at the heart of DLL. Perhaps it is because, as David acknowledges, “Baseball has a rich tradition of history and ceremony” that they place value on commemorating special occasions. On Mother’s Day the concession stand is off limits – no mothers are allowed to volunteer. Instead, mothers and grandmothers are showered with adoration in the form of a cooked breakfast made by the dads.

Another notable occasion is the annual coaches game. This one night tournament is an opportunity for everyone to come out and watch the coaches play. A volunteer who happens to be a restaurateur, came up with the idea of offering a special menu of meatball sandwiches and crab rolls at the concession stand, which met with great approval. As many as 300 people have come out to cheer on the coaches; kids act as umpires and get an opportunity to make announcements. Pancake day for the Majors players is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the senior players prior to the playoffs. They hold fun competitions and players receive a commemorative pin in appreciation of their time spent with DLL.

Players and their families are guaranteed to be neighbours due to set boundaries within the Dunbar area.

Only accepting registrations from Dunbar kids creates instant connections with one another at Memorial Park and Balaclava Park, which are the home parks to the 500 DLL players who range in age from 4 to 12.

Beginning at age 4 children can sign up for T-ball where they will get their first taste of being a Little Leaguer. At age 7 they progress to Minor B division (the only level that plays at Balaclava Park), at age 9 they advance to Minor A and finally at age 11 through 12 they reach Majors division at Memorial Park’s big diamond.

All teams are co-ed and it’s never too late to learn to play baseball. David notes that while registration has already taken place for the older divisions, T-ball registration is underway during the month of February.

“The concession turns a small profit every year. It’s not about making a profit, it’s about the community feeling.” David Berrington

The concession is open to everyone; residents will often stroll by and make a purchase. For $5 you can purchase a burger and drink. Popcorn, hot dogs, Caesar salad wraps and slushies are all very popular but the top seller by far is the candy bags priced at a mere 50 cents. Over the course of a season DLL sells over 6,000 bags. Groups of volunteers meet twice a season to bag the candy.

With 50 DLL teams in total there are plenty of opportunities for local businesses to get involved as sponsors. David mentions there is a waiting list to sponsor the Majors level. Businesses benefit from exposure to local residents but it is also a philanthropic investment in the neighbourhood that drives many to get involved.

How did David get involved? Although he did not play baseball as a child he made a point of introducing his two sons to a variety of sports. They became hooked and have worked their way up through DLL. His oldest son has now moved on to Bantam Triple A with Vancouver Community Baseball. His youngest son is completing his final year in DLL’s Majors division.

DLL logo sqDavid admits that as a human resources consultant his strength is managing and leading people. He has thoroughly enjoyed volunteering for DLL. With one final year as president he admits, “I’ll miss it terribly. The involvement I have is special.” He will remain for an additional year as past president, but will always be involved in some capacity. “I don’t own the league. I have been a caretaker for a few years. You always hope to leave an organization in a better place when you move on,” he says.

Regarding the sixtieth anniversary season DLL plans to host an alumni game and hold a party in June which all former coaches and players are invited to attend. Information and details will be forthcoming on DLL’s website at

Sarah Jagger

Monday, September 12th, 2016

sarah_jagger_domestic_objects_dunbar_life_palla_mediaCut From Entrepreneurial Cloth

Sometimes the best business ideas grow from the imaginative seeds one unintentionally sows. In Sarah Jagger’s case her thriving business, Domestic Objects, was born from a lifelong passion for sewing.

An advocate of imaginative play for children, and knowing how much her kids like to hide in and play under things, in 2014 Sarah Jagger started looking for an indoor teepee play tent but was unable to find one that appealed to her. This did not deter her; she set to work and created one. Pleased with the results, she posted a photo on Facebook. Her friends and family loved it; they encouraged her to make more so she created an online business through Etsy and sales instantly took off.

Domestic Objects Tent Dunbar LifeAt the time her business was born she and her husband Stephen Jagger and their two young children were on a four year overseas work adventure involving Stephen’s business. During that time they lived in Manila followed by time spent in Singapore. Sarah Jagger had enjoyed a fulfilling career in cardiology information systems with Vancouver Coastal Health, and looking for something to do while away from home, threw her creative energy into her new enterprise. She quickly realized this was something she could do anywhere in the world they travelled.

She reflects, “Looking outside of comfort zones opportunities can arise. I had the idea and jumped in.”

Domestic_Objects_striped_tent_dunbar_lifeThe fabrics she has collected from her travels range from 100% cotton to poplin and natural, unbleached canvas. Sarah Jagger is drawn to classic patterns such as the grey and white striped fabric seen on her Etsy site, which happens to be her top selling tent. She chooses attractive timeless fabrics prints to complement a home’s interior and reckons children don’t mind what the tent looks like on the outside; it’s the good times they create inside that count.

The frames (which are not visible) are constructed from PVC pipes, a flexible and safe material so children won’t hurt themselves if they bump into the tent. The lightweight design is also beneficial for shipping. Etsy customers from all over the world have been ordering from her.

To date the tents have shipped to 25 countries, although the primary market is Canada and the United States. Orders have been placed from as far away as the Maldives, Norway and Pakistan.

Since the company’s inception she has sold thousands of tents. In addition to online sales, Domestic Objects wholesales to businesses and customers can also purchase directly from Sarah Jagger.

Domestic Objects began as a one-woman show, however, with the company’s incredible success Sarah Jagger could not keep up with the demand and hired five families in Manila to assist with production. She mentions that her employees were formerly factory workers and now they sew from their homes. They are extremely well paid and have become the envy of their community. She also continues to create tents at home in Vancouver.

In addition to the teepees, Domestic Objects has introduced accessories including throw pillows for the interior and an adorable Happy Camper felt/plush campfire comprised of realistic looking stuffed granite rocks, stuffed felt fire logs, jumbo marshmallows and felt covered roasting sticks.

“I test all of my new products out on my kids first to see if they like them, and if they do, I make more.” Sarah Jagger

Domestic_Objects_canvas_tent_dunbar_lifeTwo years after the initial play tent was created her kids still play in them. Stuart (6) likes to read inside his teepee and other times his imagination transforms it into an elevator or spaceship. Meanwhile Tamsen (4) can often be found hosting tea parties for her dolls. Sarah Jagger is delighted to see the cloth structures constantly being used in different ways. “Every day it’s something different. The tents inspire their imaginations,” she says.

While the family was away from Vancouver they chose to not own a television set. In extreme circumstances, such as a long flight, they would offer the kids a tablet to play on. It is her belief that some parents rely too heavily on technology and her intention is to stimulate imaginative play and communication. She feels there is beginning to be a push back against technology as parents are seeing the loss of communication skills.

The family returned to their Dunbar home in June and is happy to be back. Sarah Jagger missed the clean air, familiar foods and her running routes. She also missed her family’s favourite Dunbar hang outs such as Chaldecott Park, Jethro’s Fine Grub and Kokopelli Café.

Book_cover_play_tent_dunbar_lifeWhere does she see Domestic Objects headed? Sarah remarks, “I would like to continue expanding the product line. I would like to see the tents in more stores.”

Released this summer, Sarah Jagger has authored a book titled “The Play Tent of Imagination” about two siblings and where their creative minds wander off to as they play in their tent. She mentions the illustrations by Lenny Wen are beautiful. The book will be sold on Etsy and she imagines parents will cuddle up in the tent and read to their children.

Based on the success of her company, which began with a needle pulling thread to create a single tent, imagination can indeed take you to wonderful and unexpected places.