The Toronto Blue Jays, through Jays Care Foundation, are supporting Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) to establish safe, fun, active and engaging baseball programming for children, ages 5-13, living in under-resourced communities.
“As Canada’s Major League team, we are proud to be able to make this commitment to children and youth from coast-to-coast. As Canadian children are spending less time engaging in physical activity, our partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada provides much needed access to organized sport for children and youth who may otherwise not have such opportunities.” – Danielle Bedasse, Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation
Sometimes kids just need a TEAM to play for. Jays Care Foundation, in partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, the Y, Toronto Community Housing (TCH), and Pathways to Education, offers this baseball program for kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in recreational or organized sport. In addition to providing youth employment opportunities and training coaches, Rookie League is a program that uses the game of baseball as a foundation to teach children the importance of team work, cooperation and self-esteem. Toronto Blue Jays players serve as Honourary Captains for each of the Rookie League divisions and all program sites are equipped with t-shirts, hats, baseball equipment and coaching support to facilitate programming. Last year, Rookie League reached over 6,300 children and youth across Canada.
In 2014, Rookie League is celebrating its 26th season, and will continue to break barriers to organized sport for more than 7,900 children and youth in over 140 communities from coast to coast.
Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area operates Rookie League in the late spring and summer. For information on how to get involved in the 2014 program, please contact us at (780) 424-8181 or visit the Jays Care Foundation website.
Objectives of the Baseball Program:
The program’s coordinator in Edmonton shared the following update about the 2013 summer’s camp:
“I had three kids in the Jays Care summer camp this year. They were really nervous going to the camp, saying they had never really played baseball. We assured them they were all athletic and would be just fine. On the first day, the kids wouldn’t go on the field without me. We went to the first station together and I slowly walked away as they became interested in the activity. When I returned to pick them up, they were all telling stories about the day and all the things they learned. The next day they arrived at the Club early and excited to get to camp. On the last day, the kids were presented with a gift from the Jays Care Foundation and the kids were so excited and asked all the players to sign it. They all had inside jokes and funny handshakes with them. The gift – a bat – is at our Club and the kids often ask to see it. They all received a glove and learned lots of new things. Great partnership!”
“The kids had a wonderful time playing baseball. They would ask every day if they could play. They also loved wearing the blue jays hats and cannot wait to take them home. The older boys in the group would often help coach the younger kids and show them how to hold the bat and catch a ball.”