I frequently write about the importance of physical activity in children. Our kids need at least 60 minutes of big muscle movement each day to keep them healthy and their bodies at a healthy weight.
Participation in team sports such as soccer, hockey and baseball is a great way for children to meet their daily physical activity requirement as well as learning the valuable life skills of leadership, teamwork and sharing. But not all parents can afford the sky-rocketing cost of extracurricular activities.
Last week, I was contacted by a representative of The Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation (VCBF) to help spread the word about a new program designed to help change that (thanks for thinking of me Liz!). Starting Thursday, July 5th, over 300 Lower Mainland children will be playing ball where their idols do, at Nat Bailey Stadium. The VCBF will provide transportation, meals, equipment and more importantly, an atmosphere that fosters personal and athletic development to these young children. What a great way to promote organized physical activity in children who may not have the opportunity to participate in team sports otherwise!
According to their press release materials,
“The Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation (VCBF) believes that every child has the right to play ball regardless of conditions that are beyond their control. This belief, combined with the vision of helping youth find self-confidence, hope, improved health, and a skill set that will help not just on a baseball diamond, but in life, has lead to the creation of the first-ever mini league of its kind in North America.
Starting Thursday July 5, in association with the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC, VCBF will bring more than 300 children from across the Lower Mainland to the historic Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium to play ball for the first time.
Over a seven-week period, a total of six games will be played in an atmosphere that promotes collaboration and a spirit of fair play. Children, who might not have an opportunity to play baseball otherwise, will be coached and mentored by local sports personalities and community figures. They will receive free equipment they get to keep (glove, bag, helmet, etc.), free meals, free transportation to and from the stadium as well as a weekly ‘talk’ by an elite level athlete or inspiring leader geared to promoting self esteem and leadership skills.
“The life lessons and confidence developed through team sports such as baseball are invaluable to a child’s development,” says Jeff Mooney, Chairman of VCBF. “We believe every child should have access to this regardless of external conditions beyond their control. Our mini baseball league removes all barriers and allows a child to play, grow and make memories that will last a lifetime.” The program is the first of its kind by any major or minor league club in North America.
“The response we had from children wanting to be a part of this program was overwhelming. We cannot wait to see their faces when they get onto the field for the first time,” says Carolyn Tuckwell, President & CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC.
The VCBF mini summer league opens Thursday July 5th at 4:30pm at Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium (media are invited to attend opening day).
Subsequent games are Wednesday July 11, Wednesday July 18, Friday, July 27, Friday August 10, and Friday August 17. Each session runs 4:30 – 6:30pm, except Friday August 17 from 1:00 – 4:00pm.
The mini league will consist of two divisions. All children ages 6-8, will be in the “T-Ball” division while all children ages 9-11 will be in the “Coach-Pitch” division.
For more information visit the VCBF website.”
I’ll be taking my family ‘out to the ballgame’ later this summer and can’t wait to share my childhood memories of attending Game 7 of the Detroit Tigers 1984 World Series win with them!
Do your children participate in team sports?
What have they (and you!) learned from the experience?
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with VCBF and am posting this information as a public service announcement. They did offer to send me tickets to a game in return though; you can bet I’ll be going!