Wenatchee Valley College has a new continuing education course this fall that teaches the basics of umpiring a youth baseball game. 

The course is instructed by 15-year veteran umpire Jeff Leavitt, who is hoping to address a shortage of umpires. 

"Part of the emphasis of this course is to increase the number of umpires in our association," said Leavitt. "We know that there's an officiating shortage across all sports now. And so, Wenatchee being a baseball town, we thought we'd start with baseball, and see how it goes." 

The course takes place in classrooms, and on the field so students can get an up-close feel for officiating games. The sessions on take place at Recreation Park at Wenatchee High School. 

Leavitt says the umpire associations in the region share personnel with each other when there's a shortage, but some cases can be extreme. 

 "An association just a few years ago had just one official, so they were borrowing for every single game," Leavitt. "So ya, the shortage is real. And we're trying to address that."  

The four-week umpire course is part of Wenatchee Valley College's Continuing Education Program. 

It includes eight sessions which offer instructions to prepare for certification steps through the state and the Washington Officials Association baseball test. The sessions take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between September 27 through October 19.

Once certified, umpires are payed between $50-$70 per game, depending on the grade level of the schools involved. 

Travel expenses to and from games are reimbursed. 

The course costs $125 for all eight sessions. Anybody interested in signing up at wwrld.us/umpire. Anybody with questions is asked to contact Leavitt at jefftheumpire@gmail.com. 

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