The weekend before the MLB All-Star Game, the Boys & Girls Club of Ramona Gardens partnered with Nike to host a youth sports camp in Boyle Heights. The youth participated in a two-hour practice session at Dodgers Dreamfield at Ramona Gardens to promote the joy of being active.
The sports camp was for youth between the ages of 8 and 14; youth were encouraged to bring their friends, especially if they had little or no baseball or softball experience. Boys & Girls Club site director Jesus Delgado sees the camp as an opportunity for youth to learn about teamwork, build friendships and have fun.
“We are so excited to partner with Nike and give our kids the opportunity to have fun and exercise during one of the biggest weekends in baseball,” Delgado said. “Sports help young people not only physically, but also mentally and socially.”
There were six stations where youngsters could practice hitting, fielding, catching, sliding and throwing at various skill levels. Nike’s partner Student Sports helped the youngsters navigate through the stations.
Student sports leader Jordan Brown wants youngsters to know the importance of being healthy.
“It’s very important for the Boyle Heights community to participate in an event like this because not many kids in this area have access to free sports camps or sports in general,” Brown said. “It’s also great to get members active and teach them about healthy living.”
For Kiana Anaya, 14, mentorship from coaches helps answer questions she has about the sport. She thinks it’s important for youngsters to get lessons in America’s favorite pastime.
“I was most excited about the training and baseball drills I would experience with my friends. I was also excited about the opportunity to learn new skills while going through these exercises,” Anaya said. “The opportunities to meet coaches and sports mentors really opened my eyes and made me learn and enjoy the sport in new ways.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Ramona Gardens is one of the West Gabriel Valley and Eastside Boys & Girls Club locations. Their relationship with Nike began in 2017 when Lakers legend Kobe Bryant created the Mamba League in partnership with both organizations. Since then, both organizations have collaborated on other initiatives to help youth in poor communities.
“I was super excited to learn [something] new,” said 9-year-old Samantha Quiñones. “I really want to learn new skills so I can join a baseball team and not be afraid to do it. It’s important for kids like me to have access to sports to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
Along with events like the sports camp, the Boys & Girls Club is one of 13 organizations that are part of the LA Made to Play Neighborhood Initiative, a collaboration with Nike and the Play Equity Fund that creates equal opportunities for game for black and brown girls.
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