On August 12, 1953, R. E. Jensen wrote a letter to Mr. H. M. Townsend, Chairman of the Recreation Committee of the Wheat Ridge Youth Council. In the letter, he reported that "a girls' softball program on county-wide basis was set up for the first time this year with four areas participating: Lakewood, Daniels, Pleasant View and Wheat Ridge. 15 teams entered and were divided into three groups playing 47 games. Umpires were furnished by the Colorado Umpires' Association at a cost of $4 per game."
In the letter, Mr. Jensen suggests that "other areas have indicated their desire to participate in this program next year and it is expected that at least 3 more districts will be added. He further states that to succeed and grow, it is strongly recommended that a county-wide organization be set up inviting areas to join and work out preliminary details so that practice and playing fields may be lined up in conjunction with boys' baseball; otherwise, we will be on the outside looking in again next spring with no fields available." In the beginning, the Wheat Ridge Youth Council funded the organization. It was then funded by the United Fund until areas were able to secure revenue from sponsors and registration fees.
The initiation of our organization -- Girls' Softball League of Jefferson County (GSLJC) - was accomplished through the efforts of individuals who wanted the girls to have the same opportunity to play ball as the baseball association provided to boys in the county. Those responsible for getting the first season "off the ground" were Lydia Wright, Wheat Ridge; Martha Carra, Golden; H. M. Townsend, Wheat Ridge; Fred Rockwell, Alameda; and Roy Jensen, Wheat Ridge. Other individuals who were part of the 1st planning meeting were: Charles Jackson, Lakewood; Martha Lamberson, Pleasant View; and Mr. and Mrs. Dick Mash, Arvada. The initial Directors of the Corporation of the GSLJC were B.D. Cahill from South Lakewood, Kelly Hogan from Golden, Clarence L. Conkling from Lakewood; Margaret Raettil from Mountair; Ada Midgett from Arvada and K. C. Bernhard from Lakewood. The girls' softball program was one of the first of its kind in the United States. In the mid-50's, it was a subject of a short feature on Disney's Mickey Mouse Club television program.
The original teams came from the areas of Clear Creek/Applewood, Daniels Gardens (Edgemont), Edgewater, Mountair, Pleasant View, Alameda, Arvada, Lakewood, Mountain Valley and Wheat Ridge. As years went by, additional areas joined the organization and many of the smaller areas were absorbed by the larger ones. The current membership of the League is Alameda, Arvada, Bear Creek, Golden, Lakewood, South Jeffco, West Jeff and Wheat Ridge.
As stated in early GSLJC bylaws, the official colors for the county were black and white. In the beginning, all the players wore white blouses and dungarees. As the program grew, the areas selected their own uniforms and soon the fields were a rainbow of colors. Originally, some of the teams sported names such as Gopher Girls, Robins, Bantams, Cubettes, BeBops, Bobbysoxers, Debutantes, Farmettes, Dots, Colts, Canaries, Jets, Moppets, Debbies, Crickets, Sputniks, Bluebells, Dungsree Dolls, & Wheaties. 50 years later, some of the names are Rockies, Avengers, Fusion, Cubs, Rockettes, Shockers, Rockets, Lil' Devils, Slick Chicks, Flames, Dragonflies, Explosion, Blue Pandas, Demons, Sharks, and Rockets.
In 1959, the business communities of the areas became interested in helping the program by becoming sponsors. Sponsorship fees helped the area organizations with their financial responsibilities. Teams use these business names in addition to their team nicknames. Colorful banners hang on the fences during the games acknowledging the participating sponsors.
After 37 years of recreational play, it became apparent that some of the girls needed a more competitive atmosphere to challenge them. Also, through the efforts of many softball volunteers, in 1987, softball officially became a part of high school sports throughout the state. These two things led to the county's formation of a "B" tournament league in 1990. Today, 35 competitive teams participate in this advanced league of play. In addition to playing in the GSLJC competitive league, many of the teams participate in weekend tournaments under the direction of national organizations such as USA Softball, USSSA and Triple Crown.
In 1992, the league recognized the need for a program to develop the young talent in the county. T-Ball and Coach Pitch leagues were organized for the six, seven and eight year old girls in the areas. With the existence of this new league, the necessity for umpires prompted the GSLJC to establish their Junior Umpire Assn. Young people were recruited, trained and scheduled to umpire the Tee Ball and Coach Pitch games until 2015 when adult umpires began officiating.
In 2010, because of the interest expressed by many players and coaches, the GSLJC formed their 1st Fall Ball League.
Both recreational and competitive teams entered into the league as they prepared their teams for the next summer season.
The league continues to grow each year.
For several years, the GSLJC has been honoring a deserving high school senior with a $500 scholarship to further her education. In order to qualify, the applicant must have played recreational ball in one of the areas belonging to the GSLJC. Applications are accepted in late summer with the committee awarding the scholarship in September.
The eight area organizations have a working relationship with their local recreational districts in order to provide fields for their teams playing in Jefferson County. It requires a great deal of volunteer time and dedicated family and friend support to make our organization as great as it is.