Rookie with years of experience
London Community News
Photos by Mike Maloney/London Community News/Twitter:@mdmaloneyphoto
After 19 years in the game, this is one rookie with a lot of experience.
On Wednesday (July 16), close to 70 kids, ages seven to ten, stepped out onto the diamonds of Vauxhall Park for opening day of the 19th season of the Rookie Ball summer baseball program.
Run by the London Police Service (LPS) and London-Middlesex Housing Corporation (LMHC), with the assistance of a number of community partners, this program combines kids from the seven LMHC family sites into four teams. Those teams are the Huron/Boullee Buron’s, Limberlost Limberwin, Allen Rush Gardens/Marconi Alien Macaroni and the Pond Mills/Southdale South Paws.
The teams each have one practice and one game per week for five weeks with a league championship game played at the end of the season in Labatt Memorial Park.
Joanne Colling is the recreation co-ordinator for London Housing, said how significant the program is, not just to the kids, but the communities themselves.
“It is very, very important. The Rookie Ball program has been around now for 19 years and it is something the kids always look forward too every summer.”
She added not only does it give the kids something to do with their time but it goes a long way towards building community.
“It really builds ownership and teamwork within the communities and that is something we really want to foster with these kids.”
Constable Teresa Allott is the Rookie Ball Coordinator and is just one of a number of LPS officers involved with the group. An eight-year veteran of the program — three years as coordinator and five years as a coach — Allott said Rookie Ball gives the volunteers involved with the program a chance to interact with the kids on a different level.
Not only do the kids learn to play ball but Allott said the kids are also exposed to lessons on giving back to their community as well as positive peer pressure and how to make good choices in life.
“The kids just have a really great time. We are really encouraging sportsmanship, to have positive self esteem and work hard on their baseball skills,” said Allott. “We just want them to have a really great time out there.”
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