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Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced Dutchess County will partner with the Hudson Valley Renegades to host the inaugural Disability, Dream & Do (D3) Baseball Camp, a “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” event, at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill on Saturday, July 15th.
The camp, which takes place from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., is free to local children and young adults with special needs; pre-registration is required. Parents or legal guardians can register their children online, and participants will receive a free camp T-shirt and hat, lunch and water. Participants, their immediate family members and caregivers will receive complimentary tickets to the Renegades’ July 16th game at Dutchess Stadium.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Every child of every ability, wants to know they belong, and every child belongs outside, having fun. Our baseball camp will give local children the opportunity to learn America’s pastime from professional players and coaches in a great minor-league ballpark. We thank the Hudson Valley Renegades and Team President Steve Gliner for choosing to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ about children with special needs and partnering with us to make this camp a reality.”
A day filled with throwing, catching and batting fun will give children and young adults of all abilities the chance to learn the game alongside Renegades players and coaches – learning hitting and fielding skills at various stations, as well as participating in a “high-five game” with their fellow campers.
Volunteers are also sought to make the baseball camp as successful as possible. Those looking to give their time on July 15th can sign up online. Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling (845) 486-2000.
The camp will be presented by the Dave Clark Foundation, which operates similar camps throughout the United States. A native of Corning, NY, Mr. Clark was diagnosed with polio as a child but became a professional baseball pitcher, coach, manager, scout, broadcaster and team owner – a career in the game that has lasted more than 40 years. His accolades off the field include receiving the National Giant Steps Award for his coaching and being honored at the White House by President Bill Clinton for his work. Mr. Clark won the National Heroes of Sports Award in 1999 and the Bo Jackson Courage Award in 2011, among other honors.
Mr. Clark said, “Whatever you choose in life, give it all you’ve got. No dream is ever impossible. We encourage children and their families to come to Dutchess Stadium to enjoy a great day of baseball and friendship. Regardless of their abilities or needs, every child deserves the chance to play and enjoy this great game.”
The Dave Clark Foundation’s Disability, Dream & Do Camps have been nationally recognized, including being named Minor League Baseball’s 2012 Promotion of the Year runner-up.
In 2015, County Executive Molinaro established the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative, which looks to foster a more inclusive community for Dutchess County residents with special needs. Since then, Dutchess County has taken numerous steps to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” about residents with special needs, including funding, through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, several projects featuring accessible infrastructure; partnering with the Anderson Center for Autism to provide free Autism Supportive Environment training to businesses; and appointing Dutchess County’s Deputy Commissioner of Special Needs, the first such position of its kind in the state.
Before returning to the Renegades earlier this year, Mr. Gliner hosted the D3 Camp for the past 11 years with his former team, the Fort Myers (Fla.) Miracle. Upon his return to the Hudson Valley, Mr. Gliner said he was eager to bring a similar event to Dutchess Stadium.
Mr. Gliner said, “The Renegades are proud to work with Dutchess County to host such an amazing opportunity to local children, and we, as a team, couldn’t be happier to start this new relationship with Dave Clark and his organization. The tremendous work the Dave Clark Foundation and ambassador athlete Dave Stevens do aligns perfectly with County Executive Molinaro’s ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ initiative, supporting those of every ability. We are thrilled to bring the Dave Clark Foundation to the Hudson Valley for the first time, and we look forward to future collaborations to benefit our neighbors and fans.”