If you grew up in Augusta like me, there is a pretty good chance you or a relative has played some type of ball at the Capital Area Recreation Fields (CARA ). When I was growing up, many hours were spent on the Piggery Road playing baseball in little league and pick up games with my friends. In those days there was only a little league field and a farm league field.

These days, CARA has expanded into one of the best athletic recreation sites in the state. Cara  is utilized by the Augusta Little League, Capitol Area Youth Softball Association, the Augusta National Guard Babe Ruth League, the Capitol Area Soccer Club, the Kennebec Valley Horseshoe Pitchers Association, Kennebec Youth Lacrosse, St. Michael's School, Cony Middle and High Schools, among others.

Without volunteers, the upkeep of the fields would be next to impossible. The generosity of citizens, local businesses, and area contractors has made it possible for CARA to grow from one Little League field and one Farm League field into a large outdoor recreation area.

One volunteer was recognized Thursday night with a Mayor’s Recognition of Excellence award at the Augusta City Council meeting.

Al Cloutier, an employee at CMP and former Cony High baseball coach, has been a familiar face at the Cara fields for over 30 years. Cloutier, who also has spent more than 30 years volunteering and leading the Augusta Babe Ruth League, quietly has put in thousands of hours of service not only in coaching youth but also in helping to build and maintain the association’s sports fields complex. Al has certainly set a great example of good sportsmanship and leadership.

Facebook/Cara Recreation

For this, we here at Townsquare Media Augusta salute you, Al Cloutier. Thanks for all you have done to make Augusta a better place, and for what we know you will continue to do for the youth of Central Maine!

Mike Pooulin