September 6, 2016 (Aberdeen, MD) – The Ripken Foundation’s Summer Camp is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for children around the country who are participating in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation year-round youth development programs. During the summer months, the Foundation invites select youth partners from the Badges for Baseball program to attend an all-expenses paid, one-week overnight camp. Thanks to our friends at Southwest Airlines, kids and their chaperones from many states travel to Aberdeen, MD to interact with other underserved youth in a healthy, positive, and fun way.
This summer, Hector Gutierrez and his son, Anthony, 13 from Sarasota, FL along with two other boys from their community, Pedro and Omar Sanchez, attended the Ripken Summer Camp for the very first time. “It was an awesome experience for kids to have…to be away from family…and still be happy and proud of themselves,” said Hector.
Through our collaboration with national law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service, kids were able to experience a mobile command center, saw a police helicopter landing, interacted with K-9 dogs and officers, and experienced other exciting demonstrations. They played baseball and softball with the officers and also got to challenge themselves on a ropes course, climb a rock wall, fly acros the zip line, and swim, enjoying the pleasures of just being a kid. All activities and guest speakers reinforced important life lessons—like the importance of teamwork, personal responsibility, and communication—which were taught through our local Badges for Baseball programs.
The camp experience gave Hector and his son a chance to be together and away from the routine of their daily lives. “I also got to see how Anthony interacted with other kids. And I got to work with other children from Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio. It taught me how to be patient with other children including my own son,” said Hector
Hector’s journey to camp was a collaborative effort by John Annis, Senior Vice President, Community Investment at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Roger Ralph, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Board Member, and Luz Casera, Executive Director at Unitas Now. They created an opportunity for Hector and his son to experience camp and take back lifelong memories.