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  • Writer's pictureBGC Metro Baltimore

New Season, Same Impact: How Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Helps BGCMB Win At The Club


Learning The Game of Life: The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has been an added vital resource to BGCMB's afterschool and summertime activities with our youth and introduces them to opportunities that educate and inspire them. Above, Maryland's Lieutenant Governor--Aruna Miller--speaks at last summer's Ripken Summer Camp.


The 2023 Baltimore Orioles Home Opener is finally here. After waiting all winter (and yesterday's postponing), Camden Yards will finally open its gates to welcome back the fans ready to see their team have a remarkable season. Of course, we all see our Orioles raising the pennant, but Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore are already on a winning team through our partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and its high level of outreach displayed at our Clubs. This organization’s focus ‘helps to strengthen America’s most underserved and distressed communities by supporting and advocating for children, building Youth Development Parks, partnering with law enforcement and youth service agencies, and addressing community needs through its national program initiatives’. We have had the privilege of teaming up with this tremendous organization since 2010 and this year was more of the same as our members benefited from their time at The Club, on the diamond and on field trips during the school year and summertime.


Officers of Change: Badges for Baseball finds new ways to help improve the lives of our Club members in Baltimore City, at Laurel Woods in Howard County and on the Eastern Shore. at Cambridge, Sailsbury and at Pocomoke High School.


Positive guidance is incalculable when it comes to the impression it can leave on youth. It creates a ripple effect of change and establishes a standard within the youth that stays with them for the rest of their lives. Connections like these are being made between Club members and law enforcement professionals is what happens during weekly sessions of Badges for Baseball through the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. Opening our Blue Doors to the officers serving our communities has been beneficial to our Club members. Engaging with our youth with activities promoting fitness, nutrition, financial literacy, anti-bullying and bolstering aspects of civics and leadership is what makes this program successful in its mission to help youth. It’s an aspect that Club Coordinator Jean Mocombe sees during each session of Badges for Baseball at his Club on Truitt Street in Salisbury.


“Our members get to experience what it’s like to enjoy their youth, but also what it’s like to be prepared for the real world,” Jean says. “They’re learning various skills to help improve themselves and the kids love when the officers come to visit--it’s their favorite program. We’re starting to see how our members are incorporating the values that were taught to them by the officers and love to learn more every time they visit.”


Rounding The Bases: Twelve of our Club members from various locations across the Metropolitan Baltimore region were chosen to take part in all the fun and learning that happened at the Ripken Summer Camp last July.


Baseball is a phenomenal teacher. This old-time sport nearing its 250th birthday has instilled patience of self, necessitated teamwork and built comradery like no other sport for generations since its very first pitch. This past July, twelve (12) of our Club members from Cambridge, Salisbury and Baltimore City were welcomed out to the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation’s sports complex in Aberdeen, Maryland for Ripken Summer Camp. The four-day event taught the basics of the game while reintroducing all the winning qualities of Badges for Baseball with officers on site to show the fundamentals. Lessons were learned as the game was played and new friends were made as other fun activities brought new kids from other organizations together under the summer sun.


“Ripken Summer Camp was one of the many highlights for our youth last year," says Jane'e Bass, Lead Youth Development Coordinator for our Club on Leonards Lane in Cambridge. “It was a great experience for our members who love baseball and softball and a time to learn for those who were new to the games.” Jane'e then speaks about the priceless opportunities this time in the great outdoors gives to our members. “We see summer as a time to keep learning at the forefront of what we do, but to also see it as a season to bring them into new spaces like the woods of Aberdeen where our members met kids from other Clubs—and made friends with some from other organizations. We appreciate foundations such as Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation that see the need to expand our youth and their abilities."

A Special Night On Campus: Members from our Westport and Brooklyn O'Malley Clubs were given a special welcome to Coppin State University as they were able to speak with a panel of student athletes, received a group campus tour and dined on all the great food at the Talon Center.


We understand that life—much like the world around us—is larger than nine innings on the diamond and the landscapes of the communities where our members reside. Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation’s College Day Experience field trip to Coppin State University last November further opened the door to the possibility of higher education for many aspiring for a career in higher education. Led by a panel of student athletes from Coppin, Club members were able to ask all the pressing questions each had about life on a college campus and what it takes to become successful academically and in sports while understanding the balance each requires. The conversation then guided our youth out onto the campus to get the firsthand experience of walking pristine confines of this Historically Black University nestled in West Baltimore. After eating dinner in the school’s cafeteria alongside college students, our Club members received Coppin State University pennants to take the experience home with them. It was the perfect way to end their great time on campus.


“We’re happy to partner with Coppin State University and our Maryland program partners to provide another College Day Experience,” says Courtney Stephens, Assistant Director of Programs and Grants for the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “College Day Experiences are great opportunities for the kids in our year-round youth development programs to be exposed to what college life has to offer. These events give them an up-close-and-personal glimpse at higher education led by college professionals and student athletes as their guides.”


Doubling Up For A Great Cause: Inside and outdoors, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation's team of volunteers lead this this difference-making volunteer outing with Niagara Cares at O'Donnell Heights as spring filled the air.


The team from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation has always been ready to go out of the park when it comes to furthering the impact it has on our youth. With new renovations taking place at our Club in O’Donnell Heights, this team was on-hand to lead the clean-up efforts with volunteers from Niagara Cares that would go on to benefit our youth during the programming. Rearranging and tidying up storage spaces, building new closets and a new shaded patio area with new tables were some of the many ways this organization’s heightened level of service it has shown Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore to help us get the most out of the spaces we use to welcome our members. It is an extension of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation’s unifying goal to help improve the lives of youth one meaningful interaction (and good deed) at a time.


“The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation is happy to be able to be a part of this new relationship of outreach between Niagara Cares--the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling—the Baltimore Niagara Plant and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore," Courtney begins. "Niagara is here to today volunteering at O'Donnell Heights to celebrate the opening of its new plant in Sparrows Point and to start its outreach in Baltimore through a series of volunteer projects. The foundation is grateful for the support from Niagara Cares and look forward to continuing the relationship.”


Any World Series champion will tell you that winning takes a complete team to achieve those lofty spring training dreams when October’s leaves blanket the hallowed ground of the postseason. ‘Victory’ and ‘commitment’ are synonymous with the Ripken name from Aberdeen to Cooperstown, but ‘direct philanthropy’ and leaving a ‘positive impact’ on the lives of youth are the defining standards aligned with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation across the country and right here with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore.


Want to see what other great opportunities BGCMB is giving our Club members? Click here to find out what we're doing to keep enriching opportunities like these happening for all our Club members and their communities. Click here to find out how you can add to the impact shaping the lives of our youth all year long.

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