NeveHarms Carol May is the more than deserving winner of this year's Neve Harms Award. She has done more than her fair share to give the average girl the chance to participate and play in the world of sports; not "develop stars."
Carol's commitment to girls' athletics began in 1972 while she was a volunteer member of the YMCA-Lakeview Advisory Council. She was then hired to consult and develop programming ideas to get young girls to join and participate in traditional Y classes and activities. She suggested that they develop sports programs for girls, and was given the go-ahead. Due to a lack of funds, she had to implement her ideas and do her own follow-up.
Her first project was to increase the summer softball program. Thirty girls participated, while she and her husband volunteered as coaches. During the basketball season, she had forty girls running up and down the court every Saturday. She also sponsored basketball, soccer, and softball clinics. Overall, there were almost 700 girls who benefitted, thanks to Carol's efforts.
Her biggest accomplishment came in the summer of 1982. She and a group of parents decided to establish and incorporate the Peoria Girls Sports League (PGSL). She planned and personally handled all of the registration activities for the programs, organized the teams, secured the coaches, scheduled the games and officials, took injured players to the hospital, purchased equipment, ordered T-shirts, etc. All this, plus coaching at least one team in every program, and working full-time at ICC.
From 1982-84, she coached at Rolling Acres Middle School to gain experience. In 1985, she was a volunteer soccer coach at Concordia Lutheran School. In the early 1990s, she volunteered for the sports programs at Von Stueben Middle School.
Carol has since retired from the PGSL, but the purpose of the league outlines her life: 1) to provide instruction and competition for young girls in the areas of volleyball, basketball, and softball; 2) to give young girls the opportunity to know girls from all over the city of Peoria; 3) to teach them decision-making skills; and 4) to foster good sportsmanship.
It is important to note that although Carol's intention was never to "develop stars," she made a lot of young girls feel like one.
Carol May is the more than deserving winner of this year's Neve Harms Award. She has done more than her fair share to give the average girl the chance to participate and play in the world of sports; not "develop stars."
Neve Harms Award
The Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame Neve Harms Award, formerly the Peoria Advertising and Selling Club's Annual Meritorious Service to Sports Award, was named the Neve Harms Award in 1966 and for a very good reason.
As Director of Proctor Recreation Center, Harms observed the need for all youths to experience participation in sports activities, and not just the few who excelled. He, therefore, adopted a firm policy which assured that all youths would have an opportunity to play in games of the various sports controlled by Proctor Center. This plan met with much success and certainly with acceptance by parents whose children became more interested in sport activities at Proctor and consequently made good use of their free time.
Neve carried through this policy when he was appointed Superintendent of the Peoria City Recreation Department which later became part of the Peoria Park District. In addition, he also developed a system of recognition for all youths so that each young person could feel good about his or her efforts.
This kind of interest in all youths regardless of ability came from a most competitive and outstanding athlete. Neve was a four-sport player at Manual High School and a three-sport letter winner at Bradley University. He was a member of the 1929 Manual High School State Championship Basketball team.
Awards prior to 1981 were offered through the Peoria Advertising Club, rather than the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. We don't have biographies for these individuals. If anyone would be able to provide the bios that were written by the club at the time of the awards, we would very much appreciate receiving them for posting. We are also missing the Bruce Saurs' bio that was written in the 1991 Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame Banquet book, and we would like to receive it also. We are specifically interested in the bios written at the time of the awards, not more or less current. Please contact Rick at email@example.com.
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The Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame celebrates the rich sports heritage of Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties. We will promote and encourage the many varied sports programs in our area, share our pride and honor the accomplishments of the individuals, teams and organizations that contribute to our enjoyment and area sports history.
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