If you're learning from the Ripkens, you're learning some pretty good lessons from one of the most respected surnames in sports history. And those lessons aren't limited to the baseball diamond.
“You really see a transformation, not only on the field but off the field,” said Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation Director of Programs Travis Punt.
He’s talking about the transformation happening in hundreds of kids at the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation's signature mentoring program Badges for Baseball camp.
“This camp is the most important thing that we do as a foundation,” said Punt. “We have a variety of programs. We have a variety of events and stuff that we do across the country, but this is the most impactful thing that we do. Local law enforcement partner with local youth organizations to provide positive mentors for kids.”
They also provide various police presentations. On Tuesday it was the K-9 team taking center stage.
“As we see what’s going on in this country, there sometimes is a disconnect with the community and law enforcement,” said James Brown of the Hampden County, Massachusetts Sheriff’s Department. “That collaboration with law enforcement with the Cal Ripken Foundation, it bridges that gap.”
Over a three week span, this camp hosts about 500 kids from over 20 states. Up to 200 law enforcement officers are involved from ten different local agencies.
“We talk about different topics. Leadership, to be grateful, to not be greedy,” said 12-year-old Hyattsville native Faneshka Rivadeneira
The camp is for kids from at-risk communities. Their age range is 9 to 14. The camp is free thanks to funding from the federal, state and local levels. Its impact lasts a lifetime.
“Some of them, it’s their first time ever being away from home and traveling and being around kids that they don’t know. Sometimes they’re a little taken back, a little reserved,” said Brown. “As the days go on you see them open up. It’s like a clam coming out of its shell.”
It’s the Ripken way. Baseball skills and the skills of life coming together building future hall-of-famers across the nation.