I wanted to thank everyone who helped to shape my thinking in this old thread and to give a little update.
Although we haven't come close to fixing all our issues, the hard work of several board members and coaches and parent volunteers has continued to bring improvements to our league, resulting in better retention. Overall, we had a 10-12% increase in participation from 2010 to 2011 and for 2012, we're up more than 20% from a year ago.
I am the local t-ball coordinator and we instituted some things to speed up games last season and will be employing the same this year. Instead of the old, boring 2-inning affairs, kids are now getting at least 3 and sometimes 4 full innings of play, a much better use of their time and more value for the parents' money. A difference of 2 at-bats for a 5yo may not seem like much, but we're talking about what amounts to a 50-100% increase over what the players that age used to get.
By increasing the number of teams from 6 to 8, that gets more parents involved with the coaching and means a potentially larger - or smaller! (lol) - pool of coaches for the higher age groups in the years to come.
Although we didn't have the services of 2-3 talented 10yo's who left early for A ball, our 10u all-star team had a really strong summer thanks in large part to excellent coaching. Unfortunately, he couldn't be convinced to stay with the rec program, so we lost our best coach and several of the best players in the move to 12u. But, that's the nature of the beast in NorCal.
We organized 2 really solid 10u winterball teams and had a big 8u team that also performed well last fall. If someone wanted to take on the workload, those players could provide the basis for what could be a pretty solid 'B' team that could remain attached to the league, giving the girls a mid-level TB experience without the costs and commitment of full-time A ball.
This is the largest our 10u division has ever been, so we're looking forward to what could be the best season ever. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a 4th set of coaches for 12u (because we trained so few coaches at the younger divisions years ago), so we've got 3 very large teams there. 8u only has 6 teams again this year, but if all goes as planned, we can expect to see them expand to 8 in 2014 as well.
As far as a defined curriculum is concerned, I'm pretty much the only one interested in it, but that's life in a small town, I suppose. With all the rampant egos, you've got so many coaches who don't even want to work together for the benefit of all the girls. I do love those who contribute so much to make it all happen, but if I could fix just one more thing, it would be to make sure than kids who've been in the league 3-4 years are able to execute an overhand throw by the time they get to 10u.