Thursday, Jun 2, 2011
Deputy Director Mickey Fearn helped kick-off this week’s groundbreaking ceremonies for the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy at Fort Dupont Park, a unit of National Capital Parks-East.
Over the course of the past few years, the NPS and the park, with significant assistance from National Capital Region’s Office of Lands, Resources and Planning and the Solicitor’s Office, executed a land transfer agreement, transferring nine acres of Fort Dupont Park property to the District of Columbia government for development of a youth baseball academy. The academy is expected to contain three baseball diamonds that will be ready for play in approximately one year, along with an 18,000 square foot, state-of-the-art educational facility featuring classrooms, community rooms, a teaching kitchen and indoor training facilities.
“Baseball is a means to an end, it teaches us about teamwork, sacrifice, skills building and how to get beyond being selfish for the team’s good,” said Fearn, who grew up in the neighborhood surrounding Fort Dupont Park. “I’m looking forward to the National Park Service staying involved in youth recreation, as there are so many opportunities for youth to get active right in the parks in greater Washington.”
The goal of the academy is to create high-quality after-school and summer youth programs that integrate baseball, academics, and the values of teamwork into a safe environment for youth living in traditionally underserved neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. The academy program is based on the model of Harlem RBI, considered the pre-eminent educational program affiliated with major league baseball.
Fearn told those gathered that this type of a facility appears to provide a route for the NPS to reach out to groups currently underrepresented among park visitors.