“If you give your time, if you give your heart to somebody, it ends up coming back in return,” said Gennett, whose favorite Reds player growing up was Barry Larkin. “That’s what I think everybody should do.”
Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller said the Reds Rookie Success League program is “creating the opportunity for a better life” for the county’s youth, and it gives them people like Gennett, who he called “a wonderful role model” for these kids to look up to.
“It will make an impact on their lives,” he said.
The Reds Community Fund sponsors the annual free, co-ed character-building summer camp at five locations throughout Reds Country, including Butler County’s camp. Other locations include Cincinnati, Dayton and Clermont County in Ohio and Louisville in Kentucky. It’s an introductory baseball program for children who likely wouldn’t be able to afford attending a summer camp.
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Butler County’s program is supported by several business, the city of Fairfield and the Great Miami Valley YMCA’s Booker T. Washington Community Center.
Kim Nuxhall, who oversees the Butler County Reds Rookie Success League operation, said teaching these children combines his two passions: character and baseball.
The Butler County Reds Rookie Success League, hosted annually in Fairfield, wrapped the final day of its 11th season with a visit from Cincinnati Reds player Scooter Gennett. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
“To combine the two for me is something I really love doing — trying to make a difference in kids’ lives,” he said. “Baseball is important to them when they get here, but for me the message we want to get through is being a better person, being a person of good character and that’s what’s so fulfilling.”
Nuxhall said that is the point of this camp.
“Hopefully it will plant some seeds and they’ll blossom later on, and they’ll grow up to be kids that want to help people,” he said.
About 250 children ages 6-13 participate in the camp every year, and while it targets underprivileged youth anyone in Butler County in that age range can participate in the free camp. And in addition to meeting a Reds player, they also get to attend a Reds game, which will be in mid-July.
Reds Community Fund Executive Director Charley Frank said the camps are also possible because of the sponsors who make it a free camp.
The Butler County Reds Rookie Success League, hosted annually in Fairfield, wrapped the final day of its 11th season with a visit from Cincinnati Reds player Scooter Gennett.
Credit: Michael D. Pitman
Credit: Michael D. Pitman
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“For all the community people that put their heart and soul into this program, this is the Reds’ day to say ‘thank you’ to making this camp a priority,” he said.
Samy Broyles, program director at the Booker T. Washington Community Center, said this matches with the YMCA’s objective “which is the strengthening of our community.” He said the life lessons learned through the game also teaches them how to deal with adversity and failure, because getting one hit out of three opportunities is a good day for a ball player.
“It’s not about your last at bat but your next opportunity toward success,” Broyles said.