Carl Sell first began as a youth baseball coach in the early 1960s and became an advocate for the increased opportunities and facilities for the youth of the then-Lee District. The Pioneer Baseball League expanded to almost 100 teams during his tenure and was an early leader in T-Ball for the very young. The Pioneer League boasted the first female to play organized youth baseball in Fairfax County and was among the first organized leagues to offer opportunities for black youths.
After retiring, Sell began a new career as a community organizer, serving first as a member and then as President of the Rose Hill Civic Association. He has held that role since the late 1990s. He was appointed to the Northern Virginia Recreational Authority in 1968 by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to plan and implement a sports arena in either Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria of Falls Church. The Authority disbanded after the Capital Center began construction.
Sell was named the Lee District representative of the Fairfax County Park Authority in 1971. He served as chairman in 1974 and 1975. During his time on the Park Authority, Fairfax County experienced phenomenal growth in parkland acreage in facilities. The first Recreation Center opened at Wakefield, followed by Lee District (now Franconia) Recreation Center. Huntley Meadows Park, the crown jewel of Fairfax County’s inventory (at least in Sell’s mind) was acquired from the Federal government at no cost in 1975. The acquisition was the result of the continued efforts of Sell and the park staff with considerable boosts from Joe Alexander and Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia.
In December of 1975, Sell was appointed as the Lee District representative of the Fairfax County Planning Commission. The first thing he did was establish a District Advisory Committee, an ad hoc citizen’s group that continues to advise the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors on local planning and zoning issues. He retired in 1996. One of the major accomplishments during that period was the planning and rezoning of a former gravel pit to today’s large and diverse Kingstown community.
Carl has also provided countless volunteer hours to the Franconia Museum and continues volunteering there today.