It was the perfect day for some baseball out at East Point Park on Thursday as more than 1,300 kids from across Toronto Community Housing came out to celebrate the closing day of the 2016 Rookie League season.
Teams arrived bright and early, decked out in their Blue Jays gear, ready for a jam-packed day full of games, free prizes, awards and more.
Rookie League campers and staff gather at East Point Park for closing day.
This year marks the 28th year of Rookie League, an annual summer baseball program for kids aged six to 12. Thanks to a partnership between Toronto Community Housing and the Jays Care Foundation, more than 1,100 campers from 43 neighbourhoods across the city take part in the Rookie League summer camp every year.Not only do campers learn about baseball, they're also taught valuable life skills such as teamwork, leadership and self-confidence.
The Rookie League program also employs more than 150 young leaders as junior and senior coaches, offering summer employment and mentoring opportunities to youth in the community.
Staff help take part in Rookie League's Carni-ball competition.
Rookie League teams came ready to finish the season with a bang on closing day, showing off their skills at the Carni-ball competition. Teams visited over 20 different activity stations, hoping to earn the most points for their teams. Campers and staff ran through baseball drills and obstacle courses, made a splash at the water stations and even tested their knowledge with some
Sweltering temperatures and a blazing sun didn't stop campers from getting into the competitive spirit, fighting for points and bragging rights.
Rookie League campers show off their skills at the Carni-ball obstacle course and water station.
After an exciting morning of games, campers gathered for a quick lunch break, enjoying burgers, fruits and juice generously provided by Food for Tots. Once lunch was done, campers eagerly ran back to their stations, ready to fight for their last few points.Campers test their batting and running skills at Rookie League closing day.
As the horn sounded the end of Carni-ball, Rookie League staff gathered to hand out awards to a few lucky Rookie League participants.
Queen's Plate took home the Casey Gordon Award for demonstrating the true meaning of teamwork while Scarlett Manor received the Justin Bobb Award for their outstanding community involvement throughout the summer.
A few lucky Rookie League campers receive awards to top off an amazing 2016 season.
The loudest awards were saved for last as Cooper Mills and 400 McCowan took home the Spirit Awards for their crowd-pleasing performances.
The day ended on a high note as Rookie League campers all went home with free Blue Jays gear, including a back pack, water bottle and baseball mitt.
Rookie League campers go home with Blue Jays gear inclduing backpacks and water bottles.
It was a bittersweet moment as staff and campers said their last goodbyes and boarded the bus to go home. Many promised that they would come back next year.
Campers show off their medals as Rookie League 2016 comes to an end.
A big thanks to all our partners and the Jays Care Foundation for yet another incredible and memorable 2016 Rookie League season. Can't wait to hit it out the park in 2017!