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Williamsburg Junior Athletic Association

Our History

Our History - A True community Effort Then and Now 


 
The beginning of WJAA. On this cold day Ron Oester handed the deed to the property to president Tom Lefker. Each division of knothole baseball was represented by players whose names were randomly drawn. Left to right is Mike Fisher- A team, Greg Wehrum, - B team, Tim Carpenter - C team and Ron Hamilton - D team. Back row Joan Waits Williford - WJAA Treasurer, Tom  -Lefker - WJAA President, Jim Hamilton - donor rep., Ron Oester - Cincinnati Reds, Bob Jones, WJAA Vice President, Mary Ann Lefker - WJAA Secretary and Ernie Neal - donor rep.

 

On October 9, 1980 it was decided to incorporate and become Williamsburg Junior Athletic Association. This was also the date that Girls Softball was added to the WJAA umbrella. Until that time Knothole baseball and girls softball had operated under totally separate programs. It was felt that all our children would benefit if we worked together. Tom Lefker was named to be the 1st President of WJAA. Until that time there were only 3 fields teams played on. They were located next to the High School Football field. 

 

    From October 1980-81 the organization intensified its searched for property that would accommodate our needs. Mr. Harold Flannery was contacted requesting assistance with locating affordable property in our area. Mr. Flannery purchased the 24 acres on Old St. Rt 32 for approximately $50,000.00 with the intent to sell it to WJAA for $1.00. Though officially the donation came to us as a donation from CECOS International, WJAA's benefactor was Mr. Harold Flannery.

The official transfer of the deed took place on February 6, 1982 on what is now Field #2. Ron Oester from the Cincinnati Reds presented the deed to President Tom Lefker. With this deed WJAA agreed that the property would be for the sole use of activities for the YOUTH of the Williamsburg Community and that CECOS is to be know as the donor on the WJAA Sports Complex Sign displayed at the front of our fields.

   

   The first effort to raise money on the property was a Turkey shoot on October 6, 1981. With intense efforts to raise money for the construction of a concession stand and playing fields a committee was formed to oversee the development. Those committee members consisted of: Tom Lefker, Bob Jones, John Maklem, Leonard Glover, Hank Lung, Gary Stowell, Dave Harris, Dan Jones, Jim Jones, Dave Collier, Morris Adkins, Mike Pope and Gary Bradley. Through donations of equipment from Jim Sauls, Hank Lung's expertise and use of equipment from the Ohio Operating Engineers, engineering donated by Dave Santoro, materials provided at their costs by Lykins Lumber and Manager Sue Cummins and with donations, fundraisers and help of many volunteers the WJAA concession stand and 5 ball fields were built from nothing. 

 

   WJAA truly was a labor of love by many, many individuals. The construction of the WJAA Sports Complex became the passion of entire families. Coaches became carpenters, block layers and concrete finishers. This was a great group of people to be involved with and involved they were!

 

   WJAA's numbers grew to 17 knothole and softball teams by 1984. Basketball was added in the winter of  1982-83 under the direction of Tom Lefker and Elmer Jones. Soccer was added in 1983 under the direction of Dr. Paul Russell. The hope was that some day the acreage beyond the Haunted Woods would be cleared for soccer fields.

 

  In order to insure that any child, regardless of financial capability, who wanted to play WJAA sports, could afford our fees, WJAA developed a policy of annual fundraisers and KIDS DAY was added as a summer event. The Haunted woods was the brainstorm of the Lung Family (Hank, Nick, Susan Hiler, Ben and Diane Vaughn). I was great fun to visit their family farm and see their haunted woods and to bring their vision and ingenuity to what became WJAA's largest fundraiser. the First WJAA Haunted Woods was held in 1986 and about 100 people showed up. Today we put about 2000 people through the woods each year. 

 

    Along with the annual fundraisers WJAA held horse shows, sold hot dogs at River fest and never missed having a booth at any local event. It was a very busy time. The end result was a Sports Complex and Organization that Williamsburg can be proud of.

 

     Tom Lefker served as President for 9 years and it was under his leadership, and with the help of many others who were willing to serve as officers and coaches, WJAA continued the goal of providing quality athletic programs for the youth of Williamsburg. Though there are so many people who contributed and continue to contribute to WJAA's history it should be noted that Jim Addision was our first FULL time volunteer who, for many years, kept our fields dragged and grass mowed. Tom Poole eventually took over the job and the tradition of true volunteerism continued.

 

Past boards have added storage buildings, two more baseball fields, a back concession, and field equipment.

   

    In 2005, Tracy Coffey was elected as the first woman President of WJAA she served as President until November of 2007. In 2007 the second generation of parents, the kids who played at WJAA during it's infancy, took the reigns as Tom Lefker's son Scott Lefker became President. It was under Scott's Leadership and the help of a board that included David Hollins and Tina Speeg who served on the board for nearly 10 years each and contributed a great deal to the growth of the organization, WJAA added covered dugouts to all 7 baseball fields.  It was also under Scott that Jamie Gilvin took over as Field Manager taking care of our fields as he still does today. 

 

By 2013 our board consisted of a President Jeff Cummins (who's mom was the original WJAA treasurer) and Vice President Brandon Lindsey. They played  together on one of the first ever WJAA Soccer teams! Amazing how time moves on.

 

Under Jeff and Brandon alternating as President and Vice President from 2013- 2016 the board added parking lot lighting, batting cages, a sidewalk and a partnership with Williamsburg Schools that has allowed us to make vast improvements to the old high school gym including New Backboards, Sound Tiles, Windows, Painting of the Gym and scoreboard repairs. Wrestling was added to the WJAA umbrella in The Winter of 2012-2013. It should be noted that in September of 2015 Duke Energy with the recommendation of Austin Bickett selected WJAA for a community outreach project that provided us with about $20,000 worth of work, parking lot lighting and fence repair in one day.In June of  2014 WJAA started a new fundraising tradition with the start of an Adult Co-Ed Kickball Tournament. On November 13th of 2015 WJAA was gifted 3 lots on the corner of Santa Barbara Dr and Old State Rt 32 that bordered the existing WJAA property. This property valued at $69,000 at the time was gifted for $1.00 by a donor who wishes to remain unamed in these pages.  

 

 WJAA is representative of the spirit of Williamsburg and the designated mission statement from the time of it's creation has been: "The purpose of the Williamsburg Junior Athletic Association is to teach our young people the understanding of sportsmanship, fair play, working together and the opportunity to fulfill some goals in their young lives and extend these ideals into adult careers." This purpose lives on today in a thriving WJAA.