Despite the heat, baseball bats were out in full swing as more than 1,200 youth from 50 Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods celebrated the finale of the 2015 Rookie League baseball season at the University of Toronto Scarborough Athletics Field on Wednesday, August 19th.
A young Rookie Leaguer takes a well-deserved break from the baseball drills for a BBQ lunch and cold drink.
Jabril, 11-years old, said he's excited to be a part of Rookie League. "I loved Rookie League because I was an All-Star and I even got to meet a Blue Jays player."
Rookie League baseball camp, made possible through a partnership between Toronto Community Housing and Jays Care Foundation, is a safe, fun, active and engaging summer-long day camp for youth ages 6-13. Youth are taught life lessons about teamwork, leadership and fair play to use both on and off the field.
Rookie League is also helping to develop young leaders in our city by employing 180 youth (ages 15+) as coaches, most of whom are residents.
"I enjoyed being a part of the Rookie League program for the first time," said Mohammed Al-Salem, Sports and Camp Coordinator, Resident and Community Services, Toronto Community Housing. "I saw first-hand the positive impact it can have on kids throughout the communities."
Over the course of the season, youth enjoyed six weeks of baseball programming in various parks across the city including Stan Wadlow Park, and in their communities.
Kids hold their trophies high to celebrate their success this baseball season
"Rookie League helped me get better at baseball and make new friends," said 10-year-old Abdi.
With the success of past seasons, Rookie Leaguers, mentors and Toronto Community Housing staff alike continue to see the importance of programs like Rookie League and their positive impact on the lives of youth and their communities.
"I enjoyed watching both staff and participants gain new experiences while playing baseball," said Ebenezer Fordjour, Sports and Camp Coordinator, Resident and Community Services, Toronto Community Housing.
To celebrate the conclusion of the Rookie League season, all kids received a BBQ lunch, refreshing drinks, and a Blue Jays backpack filled with school supplies to set them up for success in the upcoming school year.
As the 27th season of Rookie League came to its last swing, future seasons are sure to continue to bring our youth and communities together through the love of baseball.
A youth practices his throw during one of the many daily drills on wrap-up day
Through our Active Living programs like Rookie League, Toronto Community Housing works with partners to help youth living in our communities develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their potential.
For more information on our Active Living programs, including Rookie League, please see the Active Living page on our website.