July 24, 2012
Kerry heads to the South Side for camp
Approximately 300 kids participate in free clinic
CHICAGO -- Chicago South Side's Ogden Park was the place to be last week if you were between the ages of 5-12 years old and wanted to learn to play baseball. Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood and the Wood Family Foundation joined 17th ward alderman Latasha Thomas, the Chicago Baseball Academy, Lil Sluggers, Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools in hosting a free baseball clinic for kids on Monday, July 16, through Thursday, July 19, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Approximately 300 participants showed up to learn baseball fundamentals, including fielding, pitching, catching, hitting and running bases.
"My intention for hosting this camp was not only to teach kids how to play baseball, but more importantly to help build their confidence while teaching them teamwork and sportsmanship," Wood said.
Participants were divided by age groups (5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12) and assigned a field to partake in age-appropriate drills before gathering together for scrimmage games. Wood and wife Sarah were on hand to field balls, participate in scrimmages and encourage kids to have fun while playing baseball with new friends. On the last day, Home Run Inn hosted a pizza party at the Field House for everyone and Ogden Park opened up the pool for a swimming party. All kids went home with a signed Kerry Wood baseball. Throughout the week, Walmart provided drinks and snacks to keep the kids hydrated while temperatures soared.
"In a park where kids are normally not seen playing due to the violence in the area, it was nice to have such a great turnout and to bring something positive to the neighborhood," Sarah said. "Our reward was seeing the smiles on all the kids' faces while showing their enthusiasm to learn about baseball, and especially to meet Kerry."
About the Wood Family Foundation: The Wood Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded by Kerry and Sarah Wood which is dedicated to improving the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for the children's charities and causes they support. Since 2001, Kerry and Sarah have netted more than $2 million for Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, Derrek Lee's Project 3000 and the Organic School Project.