During a recent spring training session in Ft. Myers, the Boston Red Sox made time to practice with some talented youngsters from around Florida, including Tarpon Springs own Damie DeCan.
More than 20 athletes from Special Olympics Florida experienced what it’s like to be a major league ball player when they took part in a CVS Caremark All Kids Can Baseball Camp during Red Sox Spring Training.
Through the camp, the Florida Special Olympians had the opportunity to spend a day-in-the-life of a Boston Red Sox player.
At the CVS Caremark All Kids Can Baseball Camp, the athletes worked one-on-one in the batting cage with Boston Red Sox Hitting Coach Greg Colbrunn, took on-field batting practice with the Coach, enjoyed lunch with Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster, had a team photo taken in front of the “Green Monster” with Coach Colbrunn, and received t-shirts, Red Sox baseball caps and baseballs, as well as a backpack filled with “game day essentials” – all courtesy of CVS Caremark.
The camp was part of CVS Caremark’s national philanthropic All Kids Can program, which focuses on helping children with disabilities learn, play and succeed in life.
“We have had a great relationship with the Red Sox, and over the last eight years, we’ve been able to provide the batting camp experience at Fenway Park to more than a thousand kids from across New England,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate communications and community relations for CVS Caremark. “This year, we were thrilled to be able to extend this program to Spring Training, so Special Olympics Florida athletes could participate in what we believe is a magical day.”
The athletes who participated in the CVS Caremark All Kids Can Baseball Camp hailed from Ave Maria, Cape Coral, Donnellon, Fort Myers, Naples, New Port Richey, Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Tarpon Springs and Venice.
Athletes at the camp ranged in age from six to 37.
Sherry Wheelock, president and CEO of Special Olympics Florida, said, "This day brought athletes of all abilities playing on the field together, offering everyone involved life changing experiences. The support of CVS Caremark and the Boston Red Sox provided the Special Olympics Florida athletes who participated in this hitting clinic the power of sport, community, acceptance and inclusion, which reveals the champion in all of us."