by Taylor Bryant

“When I was in high school I tried to make some friends, but it was kind of a little bit hard for me to do it in high school.  But in here, I feel more positive, being with friends and not just feeling lonely.”

Those were the encouraging words of Bethany to some of her campmates as they entered this year’s Sertoma Fantasy Baseball Camp, which hosted more than 50 kids from the Georgia School for the Deaf on June 7 at the University of West Georgia’s Cole Baseball Field.

Bethany wanted to let her friends know just how special they really are.

“Nobody is perfect, you’re just who you are,” she continued. “You’re beautiful.”

The event, sponsored by the UWG’s College of Education Comprehensive Community Clinic, the Carroll County Sertoma Club, and the UWG Baseball team, gave students the opportunity to work first hand with university baseball players to learn catching, pitching, running, and hitting skills.

“We’ve got some quality character guys on our team, and things like this opens their eyes and gives them the opportunity to work with individuals with special needs,” said UWG Head Baseball Coach Skip Fite. “Sometimes, we don’t understand how blessed we are with the talents we have. We don’t look at how easy it is to do some of the things we do. It’s good for them to see people who don’t have the skills that they have that struggle with the little things. I think it’s a great experience, it opens their minds and gives the opportunity to be able to assist.”

You're BeautifulAfter a day of endless baseball fun, camp participant Bernice overflowed with excitement.

“It is so fun, plus you learn so many things, you get to experience new things, different groups, and different ways to learn and become professional,” she signed.

UWG speech pathology students also had an opportunity to work with the students during camp.

“It’s a wonderful, authentic experience for our clinicians who are learning to be speech pathologists and will be licensed speech pathologists in about another year,” said Dr. Laura Smith, director of the CCC. “This is part of their coursework.”

The camp, now in its 15th year, has grown to even include a basketball camp.

“Most of us never get to be around an elite person,” said Charles Hodges, director of the Carroll County Fantasy Baseball Camp and UWG finance professor. “We see them on television, but few of us get to interact. These are division two players on scholarship. For them, our players are wearing the hats and shirts, and this might as well be a professional team. We’re so fortunate to have UWG cooperating.”

Video by Eric Nauert

Link to Sertoma Fantasy Camp Video

Posted on June 20, 2016