Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy hosts summer camps
In northeast Houston, at Sylvester Turner Park, the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy was buzzing with activity early on Monday morning. It was the first day of their summer camps, and almost 80 boys and girls arrived early to get their shirt and hat before the day’s activities began. Anxious parents talked to their children, and camp instructors prepared the equipment and chilled waters and Powerade.
I followed the groups as they made their way onto the field. This week’s camp is for kids ages 7-12, and they were split into two groups after they ran and stretched. Both groups worked on throwing and catching warm-ups while the coaches corrected their forms. By now, the temperature was approaching 93 degrees, and the kids took a water break as they walked to another area for fielding practice. They were split into infielder and outfielder groups and each set took their own field. The participants had a wide range of skill levels, and the coaches took their time with each kid.
The groups came back to the main office area for lunch. Afterwards, they listened to several of the coaches speak, and continued to work on their baseball skills until they were dismissed to their parents or guardians.
In just one year, the Urban Youth Academy has grown exponentially. Starting with just one full-time staff member, Director Daryl Wade, and Instruction Coordinator Brandon Denton and an intern position were recently added. Additionally, this year’s camps are much larger, with six, one-week camps being offered through the middle of July. They last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Additionally, the Urban Youth Academy has partnered with the City of Houston to distribute free lunches to the camp participants. The Urban Youth Academy is open to any child from 7-17 years old, and may help ease the effects of recent city pool and other youth initiatives closing because of the tough financial situation.
According to Wade, kids should expect to learn the fundamentals of batting and fielding, while at the summer camps. Additionally, they will learn about the history of baseball, the Academy’s mission and history, and how to treat one another. Wade was the Athletic Director for Houston Independent School District before joining the Astros one year ago.
For more information on how to sign up your child for a camp or any of the other programs offered by the Urban Youth Academy, call 281-260-9166 or visit: http://houston.astros.mlb.com/hou/community/urban_youth_academy.jsp