This week is National #YouthSportsWeek which celebrates and promotes the healthy lifestyles children and their families can achieve through sports. At the Ripken Foundation, we’re dedicated to building character and teaching critical life lessons to at-risk young people living in America’s most distressed communities. One of the best ways we do that is by using sports-themed activities as a hook to get kids engaged and involved in a healthy, positive lifestyle with our life skills curriculum. We also create clean, safe outdoor recreational spaces for kids to play and currently, have 85 completed Youth Development Park fields.
One of our newest programs, the Ripken Foundation Instructional Leagues, offers kids at our partner organizations around the country a chance to play in a baseball or softball league with no fees.
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation provides partners with the resources needed to run an effective instructional league including but not limited to:
- An equipment package allowing them to purchase items that worked best for their program such as uniforms, gloves, bats, helmets, tees, screens, among other choices
- An eight- to ten-week league schedule with play-off games
- A guidebook on rules of the game for coaches and mentors and tips for effective practices
With at least four teams in each league, youth play in a recreational league to not only enhance their baseball/softball skills but learn critical life skills that help them off the field as well. These opportunities are often unattainable for youth at our partner organizations due to high enrollment fees. The Ripken Foundation Instructional Leagues give every kid a chance to play, no matter their ability to pay. Being part of a team affords kids the chance to develop teamwork skills, learn effective communication, foster a sense of responsibility to something larger than themselves, and have fun in the meantime. Kids from all socioeconomic backgrounds deserve a clean, safe place to play and enjoy team sports. The Ripken Foundation Instructional Leagues create this opportunity for youth across the country.