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Hoosic Valley Athletic Association

Hoosic Valley Athletic Association

History

In the spring of 1971, the little-leaguers of the Hoosic Valley School District met beside Our Lady of Good Council Catholic church in Valley Falls for tryouts. To everyone’s shock and disappointment, there was no one from the previous year’s organization to run the program. Realizing that the past leaders had given up on their 75 to 100 little-leaguers, some of the fathers decided to have a meeting to see what they could do. Butch Speanburg, Dick Lyons, Skeet William and Al Lewis attended that meeting in the Community Hall of Valley Falls and decided to run the program at the Hoosic Valley School fields. Butch was promptly elected President, Dick Vice-President, and Al Treasurer of what was called the Hoosic Valley Athletic Association. That first year, there was 4 teams in the majors and 4 in the minors, and the cost of running the program was $275. Only hats and some necessary equipment were purchased that season.

In 1972, the HVAA was incorporated as a non-profit, charitable organization. The H.V.A.A. relied upon area businesses for donations and team sponsors, as well as the annual registration money, to fund and operate the program much like it does today. Also that year, Ruth Lewis was at the field selling popcorn and lemonade she had made at her home. Ruth donated her time and profits to the HVAA organization, and created what is the foundation for our snack bar today. As with any new organization, there were growing pains, but none were serious. The core ideals of cooperation, sportsmanship and fun were stressed. Coaches, volunteers and parents were brought together for the simple desire of supporting the children.

In 1976, the Pittstown Youth Commission ran a girls softball program, which included many girls from the surrounding area. When the Youth Commissions monies became tight, they approached H.V.A.A. to assume the operation of that program. The girls were welcomed with open arms and have been a wonderful addition. Our soccer program was also started in 1976.

As time went by, the organization talked and dreamed about having their own ball field, even though there was a great relationship with the Hoosic Valley Central Schools. Finding someone to donate land would be very difficult so the dream stayed a dream. Then in 1977, Al Lewis met a very generous man named Alex Chapko. Mr. Chapko had always wanted a ball field on his land, so he decided to donate land to the H.V.A.A. Upon completion of the legal affairs, Kilby Bros. of Albany donated the use of a bulldozer and work began. In 1978, after a lot of hard work, determination, and donations from area businesses, the first of many games were played at Chapko Stadium. About 5 years later, a smaller field was built with the use of another donated Kilby Bros. bulldozer.

In the early 1980’s, the organization decided to build a snack bar to raise additional monies and to house bathrooms for participants and guests. The building, well and septic would prove to be an expensive undertaking; one the fledgling organization could not easily afford. The Town of Pittstown provided the initial $1000 for the project but this was clearly well short of the total needed. Once again the organization was graciously supported by the generosity of the community. Abbott Wiley of Wiley Bros. approved a deal where the H.V.A.A. could get needed supplies and make payment when able. Wiley Bros. never pushed for payment and the association was able to pay off the more than $2000 balance prior to the spring season.

In 1988, the Chapko family donated the land across the road from the original field and Kilby Bros. again donated the use of equipment. This field housed two softball fields and a Sandy Kofax diamond.

In 1990, in tribute to Al Lewis for all he had done to build and maintain Chapko Stadium, as well as for his undying dedication to the youth of our community, the Chapko family decided to rename the HVAA facility to the Chapko-Lewis Stadium.

In 1994, the Chapko family once again donated land for another field and once again Kilby Bros. equipment was provided. Completed in 1997, this field is home to our boys majors baseball program.

In 1998, the softball players were provided the dugouts they’ve always wanted as they moved to the original minor and major baseball field.

Finally, a special 'Thank You' to the Chapko family for their generous donations of land again and again, the continued use of the Hoosic Valley Schools soccer fields, and all the volunteers who have put in many long, hard hours of work, to make the HVAA a thriving organization.

Past Presidents

H.V.A.A. is a volunteer-led organization founded to provide education, guidance and enjoyment of athletics for the youth within our community. The following list of past presidents have kept us true to that charter; providing countless hours of leadership and dedication to the cause. Without these individuals, we would not be the organization we are today. It is with gratitude that we recognize the following past Presidents of H.V.A.A.:

Duane "Butch" Speanburg - 1971-1972
Dick Lyons - 1973
Tom Lesson - 1974, 1978
Bob Bevis - 1975
Al Lewis - 1976
Joe Madigan - 1977
Bob Shoemaker - 1979-1981
Bob Speanburg - 1982
Pete Williams - 1983-1984
John Hoag - 1985
Butch Houle - 1986-1991
Tom Condon - 1992-1994
Dave Bernacki - 1995-1996
Bob Keyes - 1997-2001
Joanne Moran - 2002-2006
Bob Keyes - 2007-2010
John Bartis - 2011-2013
Theresa Reiser - 2014-2015
Sean Brown - 2016-2017
Josh Gela - 2018-Present

Contact Us

Hoosic Valley Athletic Association

P.O. Box 281 
Valley Falls, New York 12185

Email Us: [email protected]
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