The training center uses baseball as a model to teach young people

After being approved for rental by the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission, renovations began in a historic two-story building near Majestic Park for a new Spa City Youth Academy training facility.

The commission rented the building, located at 201 W. Belding St., to High Impact Movement Inc. – a youth organization that supports teens of Hot Springs and Garland County by providing an environment that promotes personal and social growth. .

Amos Gray, founder and director of High Impact, said the youth academy will use the sport of baseball as a model to teach students skills such as leadership and workforce development.

“We want to use baseball to help students learn these skills that we want them to learn,” he said. “Teamwork, you know, focus, leadership development, workforce development and understanding baseball and breaking it down into: How do you take care of a field? »To the front office. There are a lot of skills in between.

The building, which dates back to 1940, sits directly across from Majestic Park – the same site that Babe Ruth and other major leagues, as well as those of the Negro League, once came to practice baseball in the spring.

“Our goal is to develop ambassadors for the city of Hot Springs,” said Gray. “The young people who, when these teams come – and you’ve seen the list of teams, tournaments to come – these ambassadors will be the ones who will host the teams.

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“So they’re going to be the ones heading to the bus saying, ‘Coach, hey, my name is,’ you know, ‘Lateisha Gunn, and I’m going to be your host for the tournament. “You know, and that person will take the team to where they are going to play, take them where they can relax, a concession stand, a bathroom, let them know about the different places to eat in the city,” he said. he declared.

“Young people need a range of different things to acquire the skills that we are trying to teach them. Whether it is study skills, relationship skills, healthy decision making,” he said. he declares. “That’s what it is and I really believe that through the High Impact Movement and the Spa City Youth Academy we can do it.”

Gray said the group’s ultimate goal is to equip and empower students, who can go up to the age of 18. Using this baseball model, he said, can engage kids while giving them a sense of pride and ownership.

“The Negro League is something that, you know, if you teach kids history and expose them to that story and then, you know, show them how great it is, they’re excited about it. “, did he declare. “But amazing things have happened on this property.… And so, to get our kids to understand the wealth that they have in their community, it’s phenomenal. What other students can say, ‘I’ played on the same field that Babe Ruth played on every summer, you know? “

There are about 12 students in the program, currently, with about five younger students looking forward to their turn to get more involved. Gray said several had come last Saturday to do clean-up work outside the property.

“It’s about changing your attitude and perspective and, right now, that’s what our children need,” he said. “They’ve got to have a good attitude and they’ve got to have a perspective that isn’t negative. And so we’re trying to adjust these things. And I’m telling you, last weekend I saw this happen. You know. , you don’t get a lot of kids up at 10 in the morning to come and cut branches and rake a garden that doesn’t belong to them, do you? But they did.

As a place designed to develop community leaders, Gray noted a much larger aspect of the overall program plan.

“One of the things that is close to my heart and the heart of my board of directors is that we want to develop leaders who will be able to go to any community and make a difference,” said he declared. “And so I think our young people are the ones who are willing to do it. And if we can just give them the time and space to make it happen, they will.

“And that’s what I want this place to be. And so whether it’s doing workshops here or training or bringing in coaches and talking to students about, ‘What is it? to be a baseball player? “https: // www.”What does it take to be a coach ? ” / 2021 / nov / 28 / watch-training-center-uses-baseball-as-a-model /“ What skills do you need? ”https: / / 28 / watch-training-center-uses-baseball-as-a-model / “What academic skills do you need to be a strong player? ‘ This is the trick. And in the summer, our kids, they might never play baseball, but they’ll have the skills, right, to be what they want to be thanks to what they learned at the center ”, Gray said.

The renovation process should be completed before spring. In addition to the partnership with Majestic Park, the group worked with local school districts to recently purchase a bus to pick up students from school and for other activities. Countless other regional programs have also supported the initiative.

“Majestic ballpark, with Derek Phillips (general manager of Majestic Park) and John Muldoon (assistant general manager) – these guys are huge parts of what we’re trying to do,” he said. “But I think, overall, man, the resources that we’ve been able to acquire from community foundations and all of that has really helped us move a lot forward. And so, Hot Springs has a rich history, of my own. understanding, making sure that organizations that do what they say they want to do – they do it for them. “

It’s very exciting for him, Gray said.

“We must continue to find ways to equip and empower our young people,” he said. “You know, from the most disadvantaged to the very, you know, the rich. Young people are young people and if we can just give them opportunities to experience things in a different way, I really believe that we can really develop leaders, a community of ambassadors, community developers, you know, politicians, anything, and we can just show them that they can do it.

“They will. They will and they will,” Gray said.

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