Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, a partner in our recently launched Chapter, PCA-Mid-Atlantic, has a mission to use the sports of baseball and softball as vehicles to foster positive character development, academic achievement and improved health among youth from underserved communities in Washington, D.C. They espouse the values of “Be Outstanding -- Be Healthy – Be a Leader – Continue to Learn” and it is no surprise that they have made PCA workshops a mandatory part of their coach and volunteer training.
Recently, the Academy held their first PCA student-athlete workshop. Charlie Sperduto, the Academy’s Senior Manager for Baseball/Softball Operations, sent us a note to let us know how that workshop went:
“The Nationals Youth Baseball Academy started its first organized travel team this spring. The team comprised of model Scholar-Athletes from the Academy’s Core Program. This would be the very first time playing together. Hand-picked by Academy coaches, the team was for the Academy’s most competitive and impassioned ballplayers.
Prior to the season, the Academy hosted PCA’s Making Teammates Better: Positive Initiation workshop for the group of 11/12 year olds on the team. [We] made it mandatory for the children to attend and stressed its importance each day leading up. The team showed in full, perfect attendance for the workshop. The workshop was hosted by local PCA trainer Mark Wiggins whose animated presenter style immediately captured the attention of the players. However, our 3rd baseman, Marcellus, had his head buried in a notebook, seemingly distracted. Given that Mark needed participant involvement, he loudly clapped his hands twice and said,‘Hey buddy look up, we need you paying attention. Please put whatever you’re doing in the notebook away.’ Marcellus, puzzled, looked up and said, ‘I know how important this stuff is! I am taking notes!!!’
The room of coaches and players burst out laughing. Mark let Marcellus continue taking notes. It was a special moment. Coaches in the room knew that drilling ‘Honoring the Game’ and teaching R.O.O.T.S. had been worthwhile. Marcellus was committed to learning the principles of PCA as much as our coaches were."