This week’s spotlight shines on 18 year old Badges for Baseball alumnus and Wisconsin native, Alex Steward. As this year’s youth speaker for the 11th annual Aspire Gala, Alex shared his inspirational story and we would like to share it with you.
“I can remember back to the first day of Badges for Baseball in 2010. I was super excited to get to play baseball and get to meet new people through the program. I wasn’t thinking of my future back then, I was still a kid wanting to play outside in the sun. Looking back on it today, I wouldn’t ever have expected for my life to go the way it did. I didn’t know back then on the first day of Badges for Baseball that it was the start of a future for me. I learned skills from the program that have helped me throughout my life. Skills like responsibility, leadership, and teamwork. All these skills came together and benefitted me since learning them. I started to build a relationship with some of the kids on the team, some of whom are my best friends to this day.
The coaches – Tim, Crystal, Carly, Josh, and Eric – I’ve learned to respect and look up to them so much. The police officers were amazing, coming out to all the practices and games. They really wanted to get to know all of us. Officers Pederson, Baumen, Groeshel, Feucht, and Blashka all had a big influence on me, and because of them, I am now studying to become a police officer at Fox Valley Tech in Appleton, Wisconsin. These relationships have continued to grow, and it wouldn’t have been possible without YouthGO and Badges for Baseball. Who would have known that back on that first day of Badges for Baseball, I would discover new friends, learn new skills and discover my career path.
My life is starting to come together. The experiences I had through Badges for Baseball – including a trip to Maryland for summer camp – are some of the best of my life so far. The people I met, the coaches, the police officers – were all amazing. The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, the coaching staff at camp, the police officers in Appleton have all helped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined, and I owe all the thanks in the world to them.“
After being a participant in his 8th grade year, Alex continued his involvement with the program as a bench coach and an assistant coach. Currently, Alex attends Fox Valley Technical College where he is studying criminal justice with the goal of becoming a police officer.