Official Leadership Program

UMPS CARE Charities Newest Initiative – the Official Leadership Program

MLB Umpires inspiring the next generation of umpires and addressing a national shortage of umpires for youth baseball and softball 

Developing Teen Leaders On and Off the Field

There is a growing crisis across the country with a shortage of sports officials impacting all youth sports. Through the Official Leadership Program, UMPS CARE will be part of the solution by teaching social and emotional learning skills and umpiring mechanics while providing mentorship and a direct line to employment to teens in under-resourced communities.

Major League Inspiration

MLB Umpires want to lend a hand to teens and introduce the next generation of umpires to the industry. MLB Umpires take time out to visit Official Leadership Program education sites and invite these teens for big league experiences at MLB ballparks. During our program launch in 2021, MLB Umpires Chris Conroy, Paul Emmel, Dan Iassogna, Adrian Johnson (seen on left with teens at the Houston Astros Youth Academy), Jeremie Rehak and Chris Segal met with students in this program. In addition, retired MLB Umpires such as Jim Joyce share stories from their career and teach lessons about sportsmanship.

What We Teach

UMPS CARE developed a 6-week course, teaching social and emotional learning skills in the classroom. In tandem with educators from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, UMPS CARE created a curriculum to teach skills such as goal setting, perserverance and financial literacy through the lens of baseball. We recruit umpire educators to teach this material, and make an effort to attract educators from the communities in which the teens live as we know it is important for teens to have positive role models and people who reflect their community as leaders.

Ready To Play Ball

UMPS CARE prepares each umpire educator to train teens in umpire mechanics with help from Jen Pawol (left), one of two female umpires currently working in Minor League Baseball. Through her work at Evolve 2 Excellence, Jen created a guide to teach teens how to work behind the plate and on the field. All of the skills in her workbook are designed to prepare teens to work baseball and softball games.

Direct Line To Employment

Did you know that umpires can make upwards of $75 per game? That is a lot better than working a typical teenager job at minimum wage. UMPS CARE connects teens who complete our program with local umpire assignors to get them working right away. We also know that buying equipment can be costly, so we have teamed up with partners like and Officials Depot to help supply teens with equipment, removing as many barriers as we can for these teens to play ball!

Getting Results

UMPS CARE is tracking our success using a tool called Hello Insight, which measures what our students are learning and charts their engagement and improvement throughout the six weeks of this program. See what we’ve learned so far!

Getting Noticed

UMPS CARE is proud to announce that the Official Leadership Program has been honored as one of the Aspen Institute’s Project Play Champions. The Official Leadership Program is also being noticed in the media, including a recent feature article in Referee Magazine, one of the most widely read publications in the umpiring and officiating industry.

Our unique, 6-week course uses the lens of baseball to develop leadership qualities for students, connect them with employment opportunities and to mentor them through the process of becoming an official and beyond.

In addition, we will provide connections with Major League Baseball Umpires so students can hear their stories and learn from their journeys. The National Baseball Hall of Fame also will provide a virtual tour of its amazing baseball memorabilia, including some special items from umpires.

We are partnering with Minor League Baseball UmpireJen Pawol, and her established Evolve Junior Umpire Program to teach students umpire mechanics. By the end of this course, students will be ready to confidently officiate baseball and softball games.

We are grateful for the support of The National Baseball Hall of Fame, FineMark Bank & Trust, Jen Pawol and Evolve 2 Excellence, Jim Joyce, Jim Kirk and his team at, Big League Chew, Hampton Farms Peanuts, the team at the DREAM Charter School, the staffs at the MLB Youth Academies in Compton, Washington, D.C., Houston and Philadelphia, Tim Kiefer of, and educators Jennifer Tumpane and Tom Dolan for their guidance in making this program a reality. Special thanks to the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks. Thanks also to Mike Lawrence for his professional photos from the DREAM Charter School and to the Houston Astros for their photos from the Youth Academy as well.

Thanks also to MLB Umpires Chris Conroy, Paul Emmel, Dan Iassogna, Adrian Johnson, Alan Porter, Nick Mahrley, Alfonso Marquez, Malachi Moore, Jeremie Rehak, Chris Segal and Alex Tosi for taking time out to spend with teens in this program.

Students in our Official Leadership Program learn umpiring mechanics through this book, written by Triple-A Umpire Jen Pawol. 


Official Leadership Program Supporters

Learn More

National Association of Sports Officials

Learn More

Referee Magazine


Learn More

Major League Baseball Umpire Association

Learn More

National Baseball Hall of Fame

Learn More

Out West Officials & Gear

Learn More

Learn More

Learn More

Officials Depot

Learn More


Learn More

Herr’s Snacks


Learn More

Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

LA 84 Foundation 

Pedro Gomez Foundation

Philadelphia Phillies Youth Baseball & Softball

Atlanta Braves RBI

Houston Astros Youth Academy

D’Backs Baseball Academy 

MLB Youth Academy – Compton, California 

Chicago Baseball & Educational Academy

Need more information?

15 + 5 =