Volunteers play a critical role with the Beloit Snappers
To pitch in or learn more about volunteer opportunities with Snappers Baseball, stop by Pohlman Field, 2301 Skyline Drive, Beloit, call (608) 362-2272 or email email@example.com.
BELOIT "One polish!"
"Can we also get a buffalo chicken dog and cheese curds, please," the cashier shouted to the volunteer cooks working behind him in the first-base grill at Pohlman Field, where the Beloit Snappers play.
While the curds and strips crackled in the deep fryer's bubbling oil and the polish sausage grilled, Jan Wagner prepared the hot dog bun on a sheet of wax paper before wrapping the sandwich.
"Is this for you?" she asked the man waiting outside the concession stand window.
Then Wagner hurried back to grab a plastic serving tray and buffalo sauce so she could finish preparing the buffalo chicken dog—chicken strips dipped in spicy buffalo sauce served in a hot dog bun.
"This is the first time I've made this sandwich. It looks really good," she told the man who ordered it.
Wagner, 54, Janesville, is among 120 volunteers who cook, pour beverages, prepare food, clean, take tickets and hand out programs and giveaways at Snappers games, said Andrew Davis, director of food and beverage for the team.
The volunteers from Beloit, Janesville, Clinton, Beloit Township, Roscoe and South Beloit, Ill., play an important role for the minor league baseball team.
"If we did not have them, the game days could not happen," Davis said.
Their value "is priceless," said Chrissy Scaffidi, director of media and community relations.
Wagner became a volunteer in 2007 through friend Margery Tibbetts-Wakefield.
"She dragged me into it knowing I had summers off," said Wagner, who is a teacher for the Janesville School District.
Wagner admits it didn't take any arm-twisting to convince her it would be fun.
During the past five seasons, Wagner has taken tickets at the gate and worked in the main concession stand and at the first-base grill.
Although her favorite assignments are concessions and the grill, she said she enjoys every aspect of volunteering. She helps at about a dozen games a year for about four hours a game.
"I love it all," she said. "It's just fun meeting new people and waiting on them, plus knowing I'm doing something for the community. It's something for pleasure outside the school day."
Her students are surprised when their teacher greets them at the concession stand. She enjoys seeing the kids and is especially fond of watching them and others get autographs from the players after games.
Some volunteers are diehard baseball fans. That's not what prompted Wagner to donate her time.
"Knowing it's a place people are having fun … it's nice to be a part of that. I've never seen a fight. It's a great place for families and teens. This (baseball) park is a phenomenal thing for Beloit. It's a home-run situation."
Cindy and Perry Folts, Beloit, are captains of one of six volunteer teams for the Snappers and have been since 1991.
"This is a fun hectic, but it'd be nice to get a few more people," Cindy said. "The park can't run without volunteers because they can't afford to pay people to run the concessions."
Getting more volunteers shouldn't be too difficult because their benefits include free passes to all regular season home games and discounts on merchandise and food on the days they volunteer.