Win 4 Kids Finalist- Antigonish Baseball Association

Antigonish_Baseball_Assoc_Photo-_600pxl.jpgChildren with physical and cognitive special needs in Antigonish will be hitting home runs this summer as part of a new baseball recreation program. 

A partnership between Antigonish Baseball Association and the Town of Antigonish, the Antigonish Challenger Baseball program helps children aged four to 18 develop physical and social skills, build self-esteem, make new friends, meet other kids and families in the community and become part of a team. 

“The most important thing is that each participant is treated like every other minor baseball player. All players receive a uniform, use the same equipment and play their games at the local baseball fields. Able-bodied 'buddies' are assigned to each player to help provide a safe and enjoyable experience,” said Randy Crouse, president of the Antigonish Baseball Association.

The Challenger Baseball program does more than provide opportunities for children with cognitive and/or physical special needs to play organized baseball, it also shows the community that children with special needs can play organized baseball and allows youth and young adults to give back' to the community by being 'buddies'. Being part of a sport like baseball enhances the lives of children with special needs and their families.

The goal is to register 30 or more children for the program in the first year and grow from there. Children will play once a week for a 10-week period over the summer. There will be special 'Baseball Days' when children and their families can participate in fun baseball-related activities. If there is enough interest and support, organizers hope to expand the program to twice a week in 2015.

GoodLife Kids Foundation funding would be used to purchase baseball equipment, including helmets, bats, and coloured baseballs and beeping bases for individuals with visual impairments. It will also be used for field rentals, uniforms for children, shirts for volunteers, medals to recognize participants’ achievements at the end of the year, advertising to increase awareness of the program, and educational efforts to reach volunteers and 'buddies'.

Twitter – @antigonishball

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