Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
Fulton, NY – When Oswego County Opportunities learned that the Kiwanis Baseball program was in need of sponsors, the agency was all too happy to help.
OCO’s Transportation Services and Education Services each stepped up to sponsor their own team.
It is the first time that OCO has sponsored teams and everyone involved is proud to be a part of it.
“I feel great about it,” said Gary Mashaw, director of Transportation Services at OCO. “I understand the physical and mental benefits that youth receive as participants in the Kiwanis Baseball program. It gives them the opportunity to network, socialize and play baseball. It’s rewarding to know that OCO Transportation Services can be a source of support for Kiwanis and the youth of our community.”
Beth Kazel, director of OCO Education Services also sees involvement with Kiwanis Baseball as a positive way to support area youth.
“When it was brought to my attention that there would be children who would not be able to play this summer due to a lack of sponsors, I knew we had to help and become a sponsor,” said Kazel.
Wearing their official team shirts, emblazoned with OCO’s new logo, OCO’s Education Services Grasshopper Major Team and OCO’s Transportation Services T-Ball team were all smiles as the took the field Monday night for their respective games.
“It’s fun to see them playing and enjoying themselves,” said Kazel. “Having safe out of school activities is critical for children. Kiwanis Baseball helps children to learn not only sport skills but also social skills. It helps join members of the community together for a common goal…baseball.”
While watching one of her team’s games Kazel couldn’t help but notice that sponsoring a Kiwanis Baseball team not only benefits the children involved, but the their families and coaches as well.
“Community programs like Kiwanis Baseball provide a service for all members of the community. I enjoyed watching the expressions on the fans faces as they watched the children play. It really helps bring families and community together. What better goal is there than that?” she said.
Ken Ryder, coach of OCO’s Education Services team echoed those thoughts.
“I love baseball and have played the sport my whole life. I am enjoying coaching and wish I had begun sooner,” said Ryder.
Andrea Ball, who is coaching the OCO Transportation Services team, has played the sport since she was 9.
“This is my first year coaching. I love teaching the kids how to play and seeing their faces when they figure something out. I have learned a lot from the kids and I hope that they have learned a lot from me as well. I am enjoying doing this with my daughter and there is nothing better than watching the kids enjoying themselves and giving me high-fives every time they score a run. I look forward to coaching again next year,” said Ball.
“It’s great that OCO sponsored a couple teams this year and I appreciate that OCO is taking an interest in seeing the kids, parents, and coaches, I would like to see more sponsors do the same. Kiwanis baseball is a great program that lets kids that may not otherwise be able to play baseball the opportunity to do so. I look for things to keep my kids busy and baseball is a great way to do that,” added Ball.
With 26 teams and 325 players, Kiwanis Baseball is providing youth baseball and softball players with a positive outside activity they can enjoy with their peers.
“It’s an honor and privilege to support Kiwanis Baseball. Whether it is OCO Transportation or another sponsor, the provisions of resources and support needed to enable youth to improve their quality of life will always be the fuel to educate and maintain the wellness for good physical and mental health of our children. Kiwanis Baseball is a great program and I am looking forward to being a part of it next year,” added Mashaw.
A private, non-profit agency, OCO’s many programs touch the lives of more than 30,000 Oswego County residents each.
One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than 650 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1,200.
OCO strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives.
For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org