IMG_0802From arts, to health, to leadership, each of our 9 clubs offers opportunities for kids to build the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their full potential. With school out and summer in full force, it’s the time of year we focus on outdoor physical activity. Through generous support from the Toronto Blue Jays and the Jays Care Foundation, we are excited to offer baseball throughout the summer.

On Friday, more than 60 kids from our Clubs came out to St. Olga Park to play a mini baseball tournament in honour of the Blue Jays. The day started with the kids playing foosball, pool, and getting their faces painted inside Kinsmen Club while BGCBigs staff members got things set up. When they ventured outside after lunch, many of the kids were surprised and excited to find a Bouncy Castle. When we asked if they were happy to be there, a group of kids all talked over each other declaring their excitement.

Then the real fun began. Split into six teams based on their ages, the kids began their baseball tournament. The younger kids tried out soccer-baseball (their favourite part was grabbing the big ball and chasing their opponents with it) while the older kids played regular baseball. Everyone also got a turn racing in the mini International Triathlon Union relay race.

IMG_0824The whole day, the gigantic field was abuzz with the noise of everyone cheering on their teammates.

This is the second year Jays Care has donated to BGCBigs allowing us to obtain baseball equipment – from helmets and bats to bases and nets – thanks to a national partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada. Our Clubs share the equipment throughout the summer months to ensure that each kid who wants the opportunity to play and practice are able to.

“Without the support from the Blue Jays, we wouldn’t be as able to teach the kids the fundamentals of baseball,” says Susan Beckett, BGCBigs Community Program Facilitator, who coordinated the tournament. “Now our kids are learning the skills of the game and the values of teamwork.  And they just have a really great time too.”

According to Danielle Bedasse, Executive Director of the Jays Care Foundation, “[The Blue Jays] are proud to be able to make this commitment to children and youth…our partnership provides much needed access to organized sports for children and youth who may otherwise not have such opportunities.”

IMG_0924At the end of the day, the kids each went home with a Blue Jay’s baseball hat and t-shirt, and an exhausted but content smile.

This is just one way that BGCBigs works with community partners to offer the needed programming and supports to children and youth and their families.

Click here to learn more about Jay’s Care and other Club programming.


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