Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced Dutchess County will again partner with the Hudson Valley Renegades to host the third annual Disability, Dream & Do (D3) Baseball Camp, a “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” event, at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill on Saturday, August 3rd.
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, as space is limited. Parents or legal guardians can register their children online, and participants will receive a free camp T-shirt and hat, lunch and beverages. Participants, their immediate family members and caregivers also will receive complimentary tickets to the Renegades’ August 4th game at Dutchess Stadium against the West Virginia Black Bears.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Summer days should be care-free for every child – a chance to enjoy free time, warm weather and physical activity, including the national pastime. Dutchess County Government is again proud to offer that opportunity to children of every ability, partnering with the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Dave Clark Foundation, to host the popular Disability, Dream & Do Baseball Camp at Dutchess Stadium, one of our award-winning Dutchess County parks. Renegades players and coaches, on their way to the major leagues, will provide these campers the chance to learn the great game of baseball while experiencing the rite of passage every child yearns for: the opportunity to simply be a kid, free from the constraints of any disability. We thank Hudson Valley Renegades Team President and General Manager Steve Gliner, Dave Clark and his foundation for again collaborating to give children of every ability throughout Dutchess County a weekend they’ll never forget.”
In addition to throwing, catching and batting fun, children and young adults of all abilities who take part in the D3 camp will learn the game from Renegades players and coaches – receiving instruction in hitting and fielding skills at various stations, as well as participating in a “high-five game” with their fellow campers at the event’s conclusion.
Volunteers are also sought to make the baseball camp as successful as possible. Those looking to give their time on August 3rd can sign up online. Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling (845) 475-3578.
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.
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.
Mr. Clark said, “Countless children and young adults have benefited from our Disability, Dream & Do camps since their inception, and participants in our past D3 camps at Dutchess Stadium know what a remarkable event this has become. We urge children, young adults and their families to register for a great weekend – the chance to learn a great game and make new friends. No dream is ever impossible, and we’ll make dreams at Dutchess Stadium on August 3rd and 4th.”
Mr. Gliner hosted the D3 Camp for 11 years with his former team, the Fort Myers (Fla.) Miracle, before returning to the Renegades in 2017. Last year’s second annual camp at Dutchess Stadium attracted more than 100 participants of every ability, making it the most highly attended D3 camp in the organization’s history, as well as dozens of volunteers.
Mr. Gliner said, “The success of the Disability, Dream & Do Baseball Camp at Dutchess Stadium is a testament to the tremendous partnership between County Executive Molinaro, the Dave Clark Foundation, its co-founders Dave Clark and Doug Cornfield, ambassador athlete Dave Stevens and the Renegades. The Dave Clark Foundation’s message of inclusion coincides perfectly with Dutchess County’s ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ movement, and the Renegades’ front-office staff, players and coaching staff are proud to once again play a part in making children’s dreams come true.”
As part of the weekend, organizers will present one local resident with the Pulling Each Other Along Award, which recognizes the notable contributions of those who have selflessly helped others in the disability community. Residents are encouraged to nominate potential honorees online.
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.
Since July 2016, more than 101 towns, villages and cities throughout New York State and the nation have adopted “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” resolutions, pledging to offer a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals of all abilities. Information about Dutchess County’s efforts to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY,” as well as how other communities can adapt the initiative to their specifics needs, is available at thinkdifferently.net.