Keep-a-Cap Program

Keep-a-Cap close to home for some Rockford families

October 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

by NICHOLAS J. CONKLIN The West Michigan Whitecaps have been an integral part of the West Michigan sports scene over the past 15 years. With the successes of league championships in 1996, 1998 and 2006, and the many other accomplishments, the parents and families of the players take a large amount of pride in their sons. But, while many of these players tend to come from across the country and even around the world like Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Taiwan, the question of where they live is often one that is forgotten. Unlike major league players, the players just breaking into the minor leagues often do not have the large contracts and salaries of their big league counterparts. With the added movement that many players make throughout the different levels, apartment hunting may be too time consuming and costly for them. That is why the West Michigan Whitecaps decided to adopt a unique and personalized way in which to help house players. By calling upon the support of the surrounding communities, the Whitecaps were able to establish the Keep-a-Cap program. The program has been a team initiative since they began play in 1994. Although totally voluntary, nearly 90 percent of players yearly participate in the program, and over 50 families have been involved since its inception. In order for a family to become hosts, they must pass a selection process as well as a home evaluation. The process typically begins around the beginning of January for the upcoming season. Whitecaps Community Relations Coordinator Anna Peterson begins the applicant process by sending an application to current and past host families. After communicating with the interested family, a home visit is scheduled and then, if the family can be approved, the family profile is complied and sent along to the players. The host families are required to provide the players with a room and bathroom facility, as well as cooking and laundry facilities. However, the players are mainly on their own when it comes to cleaning and transportation—and pay a small fee for their living expenses. Rockford has been one area that has taken to housing many of the Whitecaps over the years. With over six host families in the Rockford area, and over 20 families […]