Spread Hope Now youth baseball camp an opportunity to learn and play

SIKESTON, Mo. (KBSI) – Sometimes all it takes is an opportunity.

Spread Hope Now volunteer Cooper McKelvey said the Sunset Bulldogs Baseball Camp at Dancler Field on Sunday was just that: an opportunity for the community’s youth to have fun and learn some things along the way.

“The idea is really to give kids in the community an opportunity to learn about baseball and learn another outlet to maybe give them some opportunity to try something new and different from what they may be exposed to,” he said.

McKelvey played baseball growing up and said that it taught him a number of things that are reflected in this camp.

“Baseball served as an outlet for fun, teamwork, taught me how to be a part of a community, taught me how to be selfless in a lot of ways, and taught me a lot about what it meant to do something a little bit bigger than myself,” he said.

Also not lost in the scope of this camp is the connection the kids form with the volunteers, or “coaches.” 

“Watching the coaches get one-on-one with kids and getting down to eye level and saying, ‘You’re a great batter,’ or ‘You’re a great runner,’ or ‘You’re a leader,’ and you just see these kids puff up and get some confidence,” Spread Hope Now Director Mari Ann Moyers said. “Then they see their coaches at Walmart like other kids and make that connection.”

And that connection is a powerful one. 

“I know my husband and a lot of people I talk to, they have a story about a teacher or a coach that maybe just one time saw something in them that nobody else saw, and it changed the trajectory of their lives,” Moyers said. “We can’t underestimate that. We want to make sure every kid gets that chance.”

All the kids who participated in the camp received a glove, shirt and hat to take home.

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