The City of Fort Collins Recreation Department’s Adaptive Opportunities (ARO) program has partnered with Fort Collins Baseball Club (FCBC) to enhance the Baseball for All program. In 2017 three youth teams from FCBC played against ARO’s youth unified team each week, and they’re stepping up to the plate again this year. Loveland Parks and Recreation’s youth unified team also joined in the ballgame. Scrimmages take place every Thursday, July 21-August 2 from 6-7 p.m. at the Beattie Ballfields.
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Brenda McDowell, Adaptive Recreation Opportunities Coordinator, searched for teams to scrimmage with her youth players and had trouble finding other unified teams in the area. She broadened her search to include traditional recreational baseball teams with the hope of encouraging participation and education of ability awareness.
Thad Anderson, Executive Director of Fort Collins Baseball Club, was fully on board with McDowell’s idea. FCBC entered into the partnership thinking they could help youth in Recreation’s ARO program. However he said “we are the ones benefitting greatly from the experience – the games are rewarding, inspiring, educational, and fun. We have existed since 1961 to help people enjoy the game of baseball and grow as young people, and this is one of the most enjoyable things we do. It also provides tremendous development for all involved.”
This partnership not only gives ARO participants the opportunity to play with other teams but creates an inclusive environment for everyone involved. FCBC and ARO players learn how to interact and socialize with their peers and receive a more team-oriented experience by cheering, encouraging, and getting to know players of all abilities. McDowell fondly remembers last year’s program with FCBC coaches bringing baseball cards for each of the players and even seeing an FCBC player give an ARO teammate his ballcap.
The inclusivity of the Baseball for All program brings out the best in players, coaches, volunteers, and spectators alike and all are ready to take the field for the 2018 season. For more information, visit fcgov.com/aro.