If you visit the Batavia Township Community Center on a Monday or Tuesday in June, you will likely see the baseball fields dotted with children in Cincinnati Reds apparel and hear them chanting words like “respect!” And, “integrity!”
The children are part of the Reds Rookie Success League, a four-week character-building baseball program for children, that kicked off for the first time ever in Clermont County June 11.
“It has been going great,” Rex Parsons, Batavia Township administrator, said about the camp. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community and we have had a great group of volunteers.”
The camp is made up of more than 100 children 7-10 years old from throughout the county who may not otherwise have an opportunity to participate in an organized baseball camp.
Unless bad weather changes the plans, the camp is held each Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Batavia Township Community Center until July 3.
Camp participants are transported to the community center from pickup locations throughout the county and receive everything they need to participate in the camp including a uniform, hat, baseball glove, lunch and more.
Cincinnati Reds Community Fund staff members along with local volunteers, help organize the camp and work with the children.
Each day of camp is centered around character-building lessons that incorporate baseball and other activities.
Campers learn a different word, such as respect, cooperation, or integrity each day, and get to learn how to apply the words to activities at camp and to their lives.
Local demonstrators including the Clermont County Park District, Clermont County Sheriff’s Office and more also stop by to give demonstrations during camp.
“I think it’s pretty good,” 8-year-old Nolan Lucas said about camp.
Lucas said he liked the different stations where he was able to learn baseball skills and practice team-building activities.
Zak Franz, an 8-year-old from Amelia, said his favorite thing about camp so far is meeting new friends and being able to meet Cincinnati Reds players.
Kristopher Negron, an infielder for the Reds, stopped by the camp June 12 to talk with campers and answer questions.
Negron answered questions about the positions he plays, about working with his teammates and about integrity, which was the word of the day, while he was at the camp.
“We are lucky enough to have a great group of guys,” Negron said about his Reds teammates. “They know what they have to do on and off they field, and they do the right thing.”
Negron said he began playing baseball when he was 6 years old. He worked hard to be able to play in the minor leagues before moving up to the major leagues and now playing for the Cincinnati Reds.
“You guys keep working hard,” Negron told campers.
Children who attend the camp will get to meet other Reds players during the four-week program and will also get to attend a Cincinnati Reds baseball game June 27.
The Cincinnati Reds Community Fund announced their decision to move the camp from Warren County to Clermont County in March of this year.
Parsons said he is thankful that they were able to have the opportunity to host the program at Batavia Township Community Center.
“I did not know what to expect, but I have been thoroughly overjoyed and impressed with the knowledge, skills and education the kids are getting from this,” Parsons said. “It really has been great.”