DECADES OF SPRING TRAINING, GENERATIONS OF COMMUNITY GIVING
By Michelle Streeter
More than 50 years ago, a handful of public-spirited citizens created an organization to bring Major League baseball to Mesa in the spring of each year to train and prepare for the upcoming season. They called themselves the HoHoKams.
Those founders came from many professions including banking, the legal profession, ranching, journalism and retail business. They all gave their professional talents to create Spring Training in Mesa, and to support youth sports in the Mesa area, just like they do today.
It was the beloved Chicago Cubs that made Mesa a true Spring Training town with their arrival in 1952. Through the years, Cubs’ fans continue to be a phenomenon. For nearly three decades they have led the Cactus League in attendance and continue to break their home attendance record year over year. Because of this outstanding support, dozens of Mesa and East Valley youth charities have received many thousands of dollars annually.
In 2011, the HoHoKam Foundation provided nearly $200,000 in grants to dozens of youth sports organizations throughout Mesa including the East Valley YMCA and Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley. They also support numerous junior-high and high-school athletic programs throughout Mesa through much-needed funds and volunteer service. Monies raised by the HoHoKams and Spring Training are also dedicated for annual stadium improvements.
Generations of HoHoKams have donned the iconic red shirt and displayed the treasured bolo tie with honor and pride. Today, the HoHoKams are comprised of nearly 200 community leaders who volunteer their time, just like their founders, to ensure your Spring Training experience in Mesa is enjoyable. By any measure the HoHoKams are an exceptionally successful volunteer organization. Each member knows what job needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how to do it. Each member is there from love of the organization, love of Mesa, love of baseball, and love of the Cubs. For more information, visit www.MesaHohokams.com.