Whitecaps Community Foundation hosts Inner-City Youth All-Star Game
COMSTOCK PARK, MI – The Fifth Third Ballpark stadium lights will be on Monday night, July 27, but it won’t be the West Michigan Whitecaps taking the field. Instead, the Whitecaps Community Foundation will host the first-ever All-Star Game for the YMCA Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball Program.
The All-Star Game will be made up of the oldest age group of boys and girls involved in the summer league, 6th through 8th graders. The purpose of the game is to reward the kids for completing the season, which ends today. The players from the league’s five 6th through 8th grade teams will be divided into North and South teams and will play a two-hour game under the lights beginning at 7 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the event is free to the public.
The YMCA Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball Program, funded by the Whitecaps Community Foundation and Fifth Third Bank, gives approximately 1,900 children annually the chance to participate in a structured summertime activity, providing guidance and education through the games of baseball and softball. Money raised through the annual Whitecaps Community Foundation Winter Baseball Banquet and other fundraisers held throughout the year provides the equipment and operations necessary to coach the participants in the areas of self-esteem, teamwork, self-confidence and the fundamentals of baseball. The program includes both league play and daily clinics. Boys and girls play in a 30-team league in five parks around Grand Rapids, including Plaster Creek Park, Martin Luther King Park, Aberdeen Park, Richmond Park and Riverside Park.
All of the excitement of a Whitecaps game, including a fully-stocked professional dugout, Public Address announcing and scoreboard, between-inning promotions, a crowd of supporters in the seats, and open concessions stands and CapSized Souvenir Shop will make the All-Star Game a night to remember for the players, volunteer coaches and families. Players will be bused to and from the ballpark for the game.
Jessica Muzevuca, Whitecaps Community Relations Coordinator and Foundation board member, said the game is a celebration for these kids for committing to play in the league and for completing the full season.
“It’s not about winning and losing, or being the best player,” Muzevuca said. “It’s about teaching responsibility to these players and preparing them to overcome the daily challenges that may come their way. They’re finishing a great 21st season today, and they deserve to be rewarded with a memorable event. Hopefully we see a few of them back here wearing a Whitecaps jersey someday soon.”
In addition to the All-Star Game, approximately 800 of the Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball players and families will attend Sunday’s 1 p.m. Whitecaps game for an end-of-season celebration as the program wraps up its 21st year.
The Whitecaps Community Foundation, the charitable arm of the West Michigan Whitecaps, is dedicated to enriching the lives of children, and by extension their families, by providing them with access to social, educational, and recreational programs that will have a positive impact on their futures.
For more information about the Whitecaps Community Foundation, the YMCA Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball Program, or to get involved, please contact the Foundation at (616) 784-4131.