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Challenger Baseball Program launches Opening Day at Bolton Camp Jays Care Diamond

June 6, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Jim Stewart

In ideal Spring conditions, the CMBA’s Challenger Baseball Program celebrated its Opening Day at the Bolton Camp Jays Care Diamond on Saturday.

The specialty diamond, which was opened in 2018 due to the combined efforts of the Jays Care Foundation, the Town of Caledon, the CMBA, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, was populated with 44 players, 20 on-field youth volunteers, and 10 on-field adult volunteers much to the delight of organizers Jackie Thornton and Fabi Tempio-Hillier.

According to Thornton, the aims of the specialized program for physically, mentally, and emotionally-challenged youngsters were on display on the Jays Care Diamond.

“The Challenger’s four goals for our participants are courage, connection, independence, and physical activity. It was great to see the kids demonstrating these on and off the field.”

Tempio-Hillier echoed Thornton’s assessment.

“The connections on the field are huge. It’s nice to see families during the Challenger season. It’s also nice to see the kids playing who might not otherwise have these sports opportunities.”

Tempio-Hillier is also an ardent proponent of the program because it hits close to home.

“My 16-year-old son, Seguin Hillier, has been in Challenger since it started in 2016. He loves the connections and has developed independence through his baseball experiences. Families come from as far away as Barrie, Richmond Hill, and Brampton for these on-field experiences for their children.”

Thornton added that “the best part of today’s event is to see the connection and the participation.”

“As well, it’s satisfying to see the CMBA players in our program volunteering and helping us as buddies.  To see their support of the kids in the Challenger Program is great to see. This year, we have the most players we’ve ever had in the program.”

As a parent-volunteer, Tempio-Hillier expressed her gratitude: “Our children don’t get as many

opportunities to participate in organized sports. For my son, Seguin, this is his baseball team.  This is their team—the kids count on it.  It’s wonderful to see the kids’ progression.”

It was, indeed, heartwarming to see 44 participants embracing the game of baseball and connecting to the CMBA’s on-field buddies. The supportive, multi-station environment was clearly meeting the individualized needs of all who took the field on Saturday at the Bolton Camp Jays Care Diamond.



         

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