Camp builds Christian community that reaches beyond battlefield

The Sports Apologist

by Peter Piscitello

In my position as executive director of our CYO, I have the blessing of witnessing many amazing things each year.

From feats of athletic accomplishment to times of pure joy, each season is filled with moments that demonstrate the wonderful gift youth sports can be in our families.

I know I speak for our parents and coaches when I say that watching our children participate in CYO sports and events can be a truly rewarding experience for everyone involved. We hope this is especially true for our children.

While I don’t pick favorites when it comes to our CYO programs, one three-day event often does come to mind when I’m asked to summarize the CYO experience we hope to provide.

Each of the past few summers, we have been privileged to host Mike Sweeney’s Catholic Baseball Camp of Kansas City, providing our local children a unique opportunity to grow in faith and skill while having the time of their lives.

For three days each summer, kids from across the country (and Canada!) descend on the sun-splashed fields of Mid-America Sports Complex in Shawnee. They come to meet their heroes and play baseball, but often leave with a profound experience that deepens their faith and improves their skills.

Like all our ministries, the camp is centered on Christ. Each day begins with Mass and ends with confession. Speakers throughout the day are focused on stories of faith, and the camp builds a Christian community that extends beyond the outfield fences that mark field boundaries.

The faith carries through to morning drills, where kids learn directly from former major league baseball players and have the opportunity to work with former Royal Mike Sweeney, whose leadership and strong Catholic faith is the guiding force behind the camp. Meals, live music and additional baseball instruction and games fill the day with lasting memories and tangible joy.

This year’s camp will open on July 17 with a Mass celebrated by our own Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and go through July 19. We invite you to watch a video, learn more and register online at: www.catholicbaseballcamp.org. The camp is open to boys ages 8-16. It includes a special night at the Kansas City Royals game on July 18 and more fun surprises.

When done correctly, youth sports can provide so many blessings in the development of our children. We work to ensure all our CYO programs provide a formation in faith while developing the skills of young athletes.

We hope that all children and families are rewarded through their participation. The Catholic Baseball Camp of Kansas City is one unique way we’re able to provide this opportunity for children. I hope to see you there!

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