After nearly 50 years of service to Little League, Santa Claran Howard Dickson’s motivation for volunteering today is the same as it was when he started.
“I believe in the purpose of Little League as stated on page 10 of the Little League Rule book,” said Dickson. “It is a program of service to youth, dedicated to teaching children how to become good and decent citizens.”
While he was deployed overseas with the Navy in 1970, Dickson’s two sons began to play Little League. When he returned home and took them to practice, he noticed they only had one coach and he offered to help. He ended up helping as a coach for the entire season and came back to manage the next year.
After that season, Dickson continued managing for three more years, but one day his son was playing in the Junior League Division when he noticed a need for an umpire. That day, he decided to volunteer in another capacity and began going to clinics to learn more about becoming a better umpire. Since that day, Dickson has umpired in over 1,800 regular season games, various divisional regional tournaments, Little League Challenger Division tournaments, and even was selected to umpire at the Little League Softball World Series in 2010.
Today, at the age of 85, Dickson continues to umpire and serve on the California District 12 staff.
“I discovered there were opportunities to have a great deal of fun within Little League,” said Dickson. “I decided to go out and tell everyone about all of the different ways to volunteer and get involved.”
Throughout his time as a volunteer, Dickson has dedicated himself to mentoring others and teaching them ways to be more involved. He has served as a League Umpire-in-Chief and a District Safety Officer and strives to educate more volunteers and inspire others to get involved.
“Being a mentor to others has been my favorite role I have served in and has been the most rewarding part of my volunteer experience,” said Dickson. “The first thing I tell anyone who wants to get involved is to educate yourself and you’ll find it’s not as difficult as you’re making it out to be. You’re better than you think you are, you can do things you don’t think you can do.”
Based on his dedication to Little League, passion for helping others, and his five decades of service, Howard Dickson has been named the 2019 Little League Volunteer of the Year.
“It’s a culmination of years of dedication,” said Dickson. “I’ve been discouraged a time or two, but I’ve stuck with it because of my dedication to what I view as the purpose of Little League, to teach children how to become good and decent citizens.”
Volunteering for Little League gave Dickson the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of others. He is grateful for the amazing memories he has made and the relationships he has formed along the way.
“With service comes the reward of knowing what you are doing makes a difference,” said Dickson “Sometimes you might not do a good job, but stick with it and keep striving to do better. Overall, the years of service have been a very positive experience for both me and for those I have associated with.”
To learn more about the Little League Volunteer of the Year Award, and all of the Little League Awards, visit LittleLeague.org/Awards.