April 29, 2016
This weekend marks the end of my time as leader of USYCA, an organization I founded six years ago, along with Edward Fox and Rakesh Kallem. After tomorrow's election, I will pass the baton to a new generation, and look forward to the renewed energy and vision which they will doubtless bring to the organization. I want to thank everyone who helped to make the USYCA dream a reality, and all those without whose assistance I could not have succeeded.
Looking back, USYCA was born out of frustration with USACA, with me having spent the previous year begging the national governing body to take an interest in grassroots youth development. Sadly, I couldn't even get an email reply from them. Ultimately I came to realize that this indifference at the top was a permanent condition, and so I announced to the world my vision. Thankfully, I soon found a dozen or so others who shared that vision (Ed Fox had been actually living it out for years in Kansas), and USYCA came into existence.
I am proud of the over 2,100 USYCA cricket sets that have been distributed nationally, largely to schools, the pitches we have helped to build, and the new youth cricket organizations that we have helped to nurture. In doing so, we also uncovered dozens of gifted and hard-working volunteers, who now lead the national youth cricket movement in America. It was important that at a time when the national governing body didn't care about youth cricket, USYCA was there to fill the void.
Now, as the USACA era comes to an end, it appears a new organization will be crafted to take its place. I have every confidence that this new governing body will have learned from the mistakes of the old, and will make grassroots youth cricket development a priority. I'm also sure that it will find in USYCA an able partner in the mission of making America a cricket-playing nation.
During these past six years, there has been a vacuum in leadership at the top of USA cricket. This vacuum has necessitated the creation of many new organizations, some regional and some national, that could, in the aggregate, carry the many burdens of USACA. With the rise of a new governing body, this time of chaotic decentralization and multiple leadership bodies will also draw to a close. It is my hope that the leaders of those organizations will, once the new NGB is operational, recognize how counterproductive the activities of redundant and parallel bodies will be to American cricket, and will cede those activities to the new national body. Otherwise, we risk a continuation of the internecine warfare that has caused so much toxicity in the recent years. We must move forward together now.
As for me, I will be living out a principle of "Think Nationally, Act Locally." The exploding youth cricket scene in Maryland now creates enough work for dozens, and I am sure that I will be busy for many years to come, here, close to home. I look forward to expanding elementary and middle schools cricket in my home state, and to taking cricket to the many underserved communities where it will be truly appreciated, rather than just thrown on top of a stack of other sports choices, next to "Equestrian" and "Water Polo." Those underserved communities is where I see the true potential growth market for American youth cricket, and I think that time will bear me out.
Thanks again for helping to make my vision a reality, and for your support of USYCA's mission to bring cricket to American children.
Until we meet again,
Jamie Harrison, President
United States Youth Cricket Association