This week’s spotlight shines on Baltimore County high school senior and former Badges for Baseball participant Juwan. Juwan’s accomplishments were brought to my attention by Jeff Johnson, who is the Vice President of Juvenile Services at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Baltimore (BGCMB).
A few years ago when Juwan was still in middle school, Jeff was actually neighbors with Juwan’s parents. One summer, Juwan’s parents approached Jeff and asked if they knew of any sort of programs that they could enroll Juwan in to keep him busy and doing something positive during the summer. The first thought that came to Jeff’s mind was the Badges for Baseball program the BGCMB ran every summer through their partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF). But, Jeff had never seen Juwan play baseball, or even play catch. Rather, Jeff had seen Juwan outside playing sports with friends like basketball, football, and track. Because BGCMB uses baseball and softball as their sport of choice in the summer, he wasn’t sure if Juwan would have any interest in the program. Now, I don’t know who made the final decision, but that summer Juwan was enrolled in BGCMB’s Badges for Baseball program.
From my understanding, Juwan excelled in the Badges for Baseball program, which resulted in Juwan earning himself a spot in the coveted CRSF Summer Camp. While at camp, youth have an opportunity to learn baseball and softball skills from current and former college athletes at the Aberdeen baseball complex. Campers also get to challenge themselves personally back at camp as they try to conquer the ropes courses with the help of their teammates. Not to mention all the other things they can do while at camp, like swimming, basketball, volleyball, gaga ball, etc.
Juwan left camp a changed man. Juwan says, “Attending the Cal Ripken Camp was what got me intrigued in baseball and now I love the game.”
Fast forward a few years down the road to today. Juwan is now a high school senior, looking forward to graduation this spring. Juwan is a two sport athlete, competing on the indoor track and baseball teams. He was chosen MVP of the baseball team, and even had the opportunity to play in an All-Star game at Camden Yards. But, the most impressive thing about Juwan was his secret to success: “I make sure to focus on my studies and ensure that I maintain my honor roll status.”
We here at the CRSF would like to congratulate Juwan on all his success both on and off the field. Can’t wait to see what is next for you!