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Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation continued its tradition of giving back when it hosted its Annual Turn 2 Foundation Kalamazoo Baseball Clinic, in partnership with the City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department, at Mayor's Riverfront Park in Kalamazoo, Mich. The free four-day clinic brought about 125 local children together to learn the fundamentals of baseball, as well as important life skills and lessons.
On Friday, Aug. 10, the rain forced the activities indoors to the Kingdom Indoor Center in Portage, Mich., and former Yankees pitcher Mike Torrez made a special appearance to speak with the youth and encourage them to excel both on and off the field.
The clinic participants listened intently as Torrez spoke candidly about his experiences as a professional athlete, allowing the children to ask questions about his life and career. He reiterated the importance of education and displaying good sportsmanship qualities; a vital part of the game.
He concluded with some words of support: "You all have a lot of bright things in front of you. You're not all going to be Major League players. Some of you are going to be doctors, lawyers and many other great things. You have to work hard and believe in yourself. You have to have heart and really believe. There are a lot of opportunities and scholarships out there for all of you, but you have to get good grades to accomplish everything."
He went on to say, "Please do not do drugs. Say no. You be the boss. You be the leaders. Just walk away. The friend that offers you drugs -- that's not your friend. Do not do it. That will really hurt you, and you will not be successful."
The youth took a lot away from the clinic and Torrez's presentation. Patrick, an 11-year-old from Paramount Charter Academy in Kalamazoo said, "This is my fifth year, and I keep coming back because I get to learn better here than other camps I go to. My favorite part is the pop-up stations because it teaches us how to use two hands instead of just one. Mike Torrez was really inspirational, and he was a lot of fun talking to us about his growing up and pitching and playing on Major League teams. He was really good to listen to."
A talented group of local coaches were recruited to teach and reinforce baseball fundamentals and skills including throwing, hitting, running, catching and fielding techniques. In addition to learning baseball skills, the children were also exposed to essential life lessons. The "10 Life Lessons" were taken from Derek Jeter's autobiography, The Life You Imagine, which focuses on guiding today's youth toward positive, healthy choices and behavior. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to one of Derek's mantras, such as "Finding the Right Role Models" and "Don't Be Afraid to Fail." Each child received a copy of Derek's All-Star Manual: 10 Life Lessons workbook to outline their goals and the steps to fulfilling their dreams.
At the conclusion of the clinic, families and friends joined the children at the awards ceremony and banquet to reward them for their accomplishments. Each participant was honored with a certificate of completion and a gift bag from the Turn 2 Foundation that includes items donated by the Turn 2 Foundation and its sponsors, Jordan Brand and Gatorade.
The Turn 2 Foundation Baseball Clinics are one of the activities created by Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation to reward children who are demonstrating positive behavior, academic excellence and leadership qualities in school and their communities.
The Turn 2 Foundation in partnership with the City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department, hosted its 2011 Kalamazoo Turn 2 Foundation Baseball Clinic from Aug. 9-12, 2011 at Mayor's Riverfront Park in Kalamazoo, Mich. The free, annual clinic serves 100 local children, focusing on the fundamentals of baseball, as well as important life skills and lessons. Former New York Yankees pitcher Jeff Nelson was the special guest speaker and encouraged the participants to excel both on and off the field.
The clinic participants listened intently as Nelson spoke candidly about his experiences as a professional athlete, allowing the children to ask questions about his life and career. He reiterated the importance of education and displaying good sportsmanship qualities -- a vital part of the game.
He concluded with some words of encouragement, "Try not to think about the odds and statistics against you. Those can get you down and make you think that you have no shot. My advice is to turn those statistics and odds around, and be that one person who does make it. If you need someone to look up to, Derek is a great role model. Derek had great influences like his mom and his dad. Find people in your life that can also help you succeed."
Following his presentation to the group, Nelson joined the participants during the drills to offer interactive instruction.
The youth took a lot away from Nelson's presentation. Dylan, age 11, said, "I thought Jeff Nelson was cool because he was a pitcher, and he never gave up. He talked about following your dreams and to never give up on them. That means a lot to me because I want to play in the MLB someday."
A talented group of local coaches was recruited to teach and reinforce baseball fundamentals and skills including throwing, hitting, running, catching and fielding techniques. In addition to learning baseball skills, the children were also exposed to essential life lessons. The life lessons were taken from Derek Jeter's book, The Life You Imagine, which focuses on guiding today's youth toward positive, healthy choices and behavior. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to one of Derek's mantras, such as "Finding Role Models" and "Don't Be Afraid to Fail." Each child received a copy of Derek's All-Star Manual: 10 Life Lessons workbook to outline their goals and the steps to fulfilling their dreams.
On Saturday, the participants attended the awards ceremony and banquet with their families to celebrate the conclusion of clinic. Each child was honored with a certificate of completion and a gift bag from the Turn 2 Foundation that includes items donated by the Turn 2 Foundation and its sponsors, Jordan Brand, Gatorade and the New York Yankees.
From Aug. 11-14, 2010, the Turn 2 Foundation partnered with the City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department to host the Seventh Annual Turn 2 Foundation Kalamazoo Baseball Clinic at Mayor's River Front Park.
Each summer for four days, the Turn 2 Foundation puts on a free baseball clinic for youth ages 8-13 in the Greater Kalamazoo area. Many of the coaches have been involved with the clinics for a number of years, continuing their efforts to teach hitting, throwing, running, pitching and catching skills. Focus is also placed on teamwork strategies and life skills. This year, approximately 100 children came each day to work toward improving these areas on and off the field.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the attendees rotated in groups around Homer Stryker Field at Mayor's Riverfront Park, learning new skills and developing proper baseball techniques. Each station was dedicated to one particular skill with at least two coaches helping the participants improve. The number of returning participants continues to increase annually as the children are understanding the importance of repetition to improve basic baseball fundamentals. As the players develop over the years, the clinic allows them to strengthen their skills by building upon what they already know. Similarly, the children are always excited to talk to the coaches about their achievements from their most recent baseball or softball seasons.
"Since last year, I've learned that I can turn my past failures into successes. I've read Derek Jeter's autobiography [The Life You Imagine] twice and know that he hasn't succeeded at everything either. My example is that I was heartbroken when I didn't make the All-Star team. I used that failure to turn it into a success this year. I worked really hard at tryouts and made it. Once I got on the team, I was even a starter!" said Adam.
Derek's former teammate, pitcher Tanyon Sturtze, made a surprise visit to the clinic to spend some time with all of the attendees. "Hard work is the key," Tanyon told the group. "No matter what you do you have to work hard if you want to make it. I was drafted in the 23rd round so I knew I had to work hard to get ahead of all the higher picks to make it in the Major Leagues. Derek Jeter, even after all of his success, still works hard every day."
After the final set of skill stations on Saturday, the participants and their families were invited to the Douglass Community Association for the end of the clinic banquet. Special guests included members of Turn 2's Resource Council, the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders and the mayor of Kalamazoo, Bobby Hopewell. Guests enjoyed a buffet-style meal with unlimited ice cream for dessert.
Afterward, each player was recognized for his or her participation in the clinic. Participants received a certificate and a special gift bag, containing school supplies, snacks and small toys, from Turn 2 and its partners. The coaches were also acknowledged for their dedication to the program. As the banquet ended, the coaches and participants wished each other well and expressed their hopes to see each other again at next summer's Turn 2 Kalamazoo Baseball Clinic.
Turn 2 would like to extend a special thank you to its program partners -- Scott's Collectibles and Stevenson's Side Track Ice Cream -- and everyone who helped make this year's clinic a huge success!
Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants.
Social Change Project
The Project is an event created to share one of the Foundation's principles with communities.
Turn 2 Foundation Dinner
The 19th Annual Turn 2 Foundation Dinner will take place Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.