Tri-County Youth Sports Grant
Tri-County Youth Sports Grant Winners

Carol May is the more than deserving winner of this year's Neve Harms Award. She has done more than her fair share to give the average girl the chance to participate and play in the world of sports; not "develop stars."
Carol's commitment to girls' athletics began in 1972 while she was a volunteer member of the YMCA-Lakeview Advisory Council. She was then hired to consult and develop programming ideas to get young girls to join and participate in traditional Y classes and activities. She suggested that they develop sports programs for girls, and was given the go-ahead. Due to a lack of funds, she had to implement her ideas and do her own follow-up.

Her first project was to increase the summer softball program. Thirty girls participated, while she and her husband volunteered as coaches. During the basketball season, she had forty girls running up and down the court every Saturday. She also sponsored basketball, soccer, and softball clinics. Overall, there were almost 700 girls who benefitted, thanks to Carol's efforts.

Her biggest accomplishment came in the summer of 1982. She and a group of parents decided to establish and incorporate the Peoria Girls Sports League (PGSL). She planned and personally handled all of the registration activities for the programs, organized the teams, secured the coaches, scheduled the games and officials, took injured players to the hospital, purchased equipment, ordered T-shirts, etc. All this, plus coaching at least one team in every program, and working full-time at ICC.

From 1982-84, she coached at Rolling Acres Middle School to gain experience. In 1985, she was a volunteer soccer coach at Concordia Lutheran School. In the early 1990s, she volunteered for the sports programs at Von Stueben Middle School.

Carol has since retired from the PGSL, but the purpose of the league outlines her life: 1) to provide instruction and competition for young girls in the areas of volleyball, basketball, and softball; 2) to give young girls the opportunity to know girls from all over the city of Peoria; 3) to teach them decision-making skills; and 4) to foster good sportsmanship.

It is important to note that although Carol's intention was never to "develop stars," she made a lot of young girls feel like one.