Prince George Sports Hall of Fame

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Audrey Foster.jpg

Audrey Foster (2016)

Baseball Builder/Administrator

When it comes to Audrey Foster and baseball in Prince George, she has simply knocked it out of the park with her passion for the game.

As a long-time parent, volunteer, builder and administrator with Nechako Little League, including a 19-year span as president – a time during which Prince George played host to the 1996 Canadian Little League Championship – Foster changed the history of baseball in the community.

Her involvement started with Nechako Little League as a parent, team mom and concession worker in the late 1970s. From there, she served on the executive in several different capacities until she took on the president's role during the 1987-88 season.

Foster was the front-runner in organizing and promoting the Challenger Baseball League in 1993 for disabled people, no matter their age. The league was created for those from the entire Prince George area to enjoy. Foster made sure that a team from the other division was on hand to help all the baseball players for every game to ensure the athletes had fun and were successful.

Foster's next task was likely her biggest achievement. She motivated a 400-plus membership to commit to hosting the Canadian Little League Championship in August 1996. The league agreed to a $10,000 bond just to apply to host the championship. Prior to 1996, the tournament – featuring six teams from across Canada – had never been held very far north of the 49th parallel. It was unheard of to travel too far north.

With a successful bid in hand, Foster got the entire league involved, overseeing hundreds of volunteers who looked after field improvements, communications and advertising, billets, fundraising, concessions, transportation, the player's banquet, 50-50 draws, scorekeepers and umpires, and opening and closing ceremonies. Volunteers refurbished the host diamond, Joe Martin Field, to comply with the standards of the Canadian tournament rules. Foster's work and that of Nechako Little League paid off, and when B.C.'s Kennedy-Surrey shut out Toronto High Park 5-0 in the final, the Canadian Little League Championship proved to be a grand slam for the host city.

At the Prince George Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards later in the year, the Canadian Little League Championship won the Community Booster Award.

But with the success of the championship, Foster wasn't about to play it safe. She set her sights on building a new park for Little Leaguers as the enrolment numbers outgrew park usage.

That park is now known as Volunteer Park.

The property in the Hart the league coveted was a small forest on Crown land. Foster applied for a Crown lease, got all the permits, and called on a great group of volunteers – the Martin family. The Martins not only volunteered their heavy-duty equipment to fall the trees and take them to sale, they donated the money back to Nechako Little League. The park included a four-diamond complex, and a clubhouse was built to accommodate everything necessary for the upkeep of the diamonds.

Foster also simultaneously served as a director for District 4 Little League, a director on the B.C. provincial league board, as well as a director on the board of Canada National Little League in Ottawa, Ont.


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