Local baseball players are returning to Cuba for the 2015 Canada – Cuba Goodwill Tour in February, but this year, girls will join the boys as ambassadors of the Nova Scotia baseball community.
“It’s about encouraging other kids down there, girls in particular, that baseball’s a great sport and there’s great opportunities with it,” says Mike Crawford, head coach of Hammonds Plains 11U “A” team.
But it’s not all about baseball. More than 200 players travelling to Cuba throughout the month of Feb. will have the opportunity to visit the local school in Matanzas, play baseball with local children and deliver school and baseball supplies.
“We’ll probably be contributing more than $60,000 worth of gear to Matanzas baseball program this year with all the teams that are going,” says Dennis Woodworth, the program development team lead.
Only 40 mins. from the resort village of Varadero, Woodworth says Matanzas is a huge baseball community and provides a safe environment for the players.
“Every team goes for a week and they play four-to-five games. We do a school visit every week and our goal is to donate between $4,000 and $5,000 in school supplies,” says Woodworth, who’s been coaching ball since 1987.
Woodworth coordinates the trips from beginning to end and says the idea was sparked in Varadero three years ago when he was given an opportunity to play ball with other baseball enthusiasts, but wanted to take it a step further.