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Little League® Urban Initiative Baseball Camp Scholarship Winners Enjoy their Week in Williamsport

More than 15 years ago, the Little League® Urban Initiative (LLUI) was created by Little League Baseball and Softball to assist underprivileged communities with equipment, renovations, and training in order to establish or support Little League programs in their neighborhoods. On the field, the program has come to be about opportunity, networking, and making friends, which is what three Little Leaguers from Urban Initiative leagues did during a week of Little League Baseball Camp at Little League International.

Through the Urban Initiative, 52,000 players on 4,000 teams in more than 220 leagues have returned youth baseball and softball to nearly 100 U.S. cities. Six years ago, the Little League Urban Initiative expanded the opportunities for children from these metropolitan and urban areas by offering Little League Baseball Camp scholarships.

During the last week of July, three boys traveled to Williamsport, Pa., the home of Little League International, as winners of the Urban Initiative Baseball Camp Scholarship. They spent a week creating friendships, sharpening their baseball skills and building character.

“It’s very cool and amazing to be here,” said Davion Telflair, 11, a scholarship winner from Syracuse, N.Y. “I never knew about this camp until my coach invited me to come. I really like it and really don’t want to go home.”

Marcos Valdes, 12, (York City Little League, York, Pa.); Davion Telflair, 11, (Inner City Little League, Syracuse, N.Y.); Imeen Morse, 12, (Central Ward Little League, Newark, N.J.); visited Little League International July 26-21, and took part in a week of Little League Baseball Camp. Each of the players were winners of the annual Little League Urban Initiative Little League Baseball Camp Scholarship.

Little League Baseball camp is offered in six, week-long sessions during the summer. Campers learn all areas of the game during their stay, including hitting, pitching, fielding and base running. Coaches and counselors ensure that other activates are incorporated into the week, such as swimming, table games and card trading.

The campers are housed in the same dorms that the Little League Baseball® World Series teams stay in. They also get the opportunity to play on the Little League World Series official fields.

Imeen Morse, 12, an Urban Initiative Scholarship winner from Newark, N.J., especially enjoyed spending time on the World Series complex.

“We’ve had a lot of fun learning about baseball,” said Morse. “It’s cool because we stay in the same rooms that they (Little League World Series athletes) stay in, and play on the same fields that they play on.”

Urban Initiative Scholarship winner, Marcos Valdes, 12, from York, Pa., takes baseball very seriously. Grateful for the opportunity to attend camp, playing games on the World Series fields was his favorite activity.

“I’ve never had the experience to play on a nice field like these,” he said.

Marcos Valdes, 12, pitches for his Dodgers team during action from Little League Baseball Camp held at Little League International in South Williamsport, Pa. Marcos, from York City Little League in York, Pa., was one of three players to attend Little League Baseball Camp as winners of the annual Little League Urban Initiative Little League Baseball Camp Scholarship.

All three Urban Initiative Scholarship winner described their experience in Williamsport, Pa. as “fun.” They all said they would like to return to the camp in the future. The three scholarship winners, Davion, Imeen, and Marcos, may not have been able to attend Little League Baseball Camp without the generous assistance from Urban Initiative.

More information on Little League’s Urban Initiative program can be found on LittleLeague.org; facebook.com/LittleLeagueUrbanInitiative; or by contacting Demiko Ervin, Little League Director of the Urban Initiative, at: dervin@LittleLeague.org.