Coming full circle for many athletes ends with giving back to the community and to the game that they love. For Pacific University’s baseball and softball student-athletes, that meant helping the younger generation of ballplayers by passing on the skills they know and use now.
The Pacific softball team held their third annual youth camp on Nov. 24, 2013 for players in the 12U and 10U age groups while the Pacific baseball team held their youth camp on Feb. 1, 2014 for ages 7-13.
Originally, the softball team held camps as a fundraiser to help supplement their budget but continues to do it because it has become a tradition.
The softball team holds a youth camp and a high school camp. The high school camp serves as a form of recruiting while the youth camp is mainly for the kids and the community.
This year was the first year since 2010 that the Pacific baseball team has held a youth camp. Previously, they were directed by Pacific University Baseball Head Coach Greg Bradley. With 2014 being Bradley’s last coaching season, two new assistant baseball coaches have taken over for putting together the youth camps.
Camp director Aaron Svarthumle and Nate Rasmussen are both former Pacific baseball players and are in their first season as assistant coaches.
Pacific University Softball Head Coach Tim Hill feels that the teams’ involvement with the community holds a weight of importance.
“We want to try and connect with the kids in the community,” said Hill. “Just trying to keep them involved more than anything.”
Giving back is the biggest thing for Rasmussen when it comes to youth camps.
“You don’t have to do youth camps. They’re not huge moneymakers, nothing like that,” said Rasmussen. “You do it because it’s good for baseball.”
“In baseball, you grew up going to camps and that’s how you develop the love and you want to get back to it,” he said.
The camps are not only important because the players and the community get involved, but also because they help the young kids with developing their skills.
The softball camps were able to bring in professional hitting instructor Sparky Parker and professional catching instructor and former Portland State University catcher Hilda Stone.
Having Parker instruct at the youth camps was important because he also serves as the softball team’s hitting instructor.
Stone was coached by Hill since she was 12 years old and coached alongside her for six years.
The Pacific baseball team was originally scheduled to have a camp on Jan. 25, 2014 as well, but cancelled because too few kids had signed up.
Pacific also hosts a “Junior Boxer Day” where the kids from the youth camps as well as any players aged 4-17 are invited to spend a day at Chuck Bafaro Stadium and Sherman/Larkins Stadium to watch both Pacific Boxers baseball and softball games.
“You want to give back to the game,” said Hill.