On August 6th and 7th, during the SummerBall Showdown, the US Military WarDogs hosted two youth baseball combines for the city of Goddard and surrounding communities. Between the two events, over 70 youth from ages 7-11 participated in the WarDogs combines. Many of the kids that participated had parents serving on active duty or who were veterans.
The WarDogs, comprised of military baseball players from all branches of the service, added their own style to create a competitive and fun experience for the youth during these combines. This year, the combine consisted of four events. Each event was associated with one of the military branches. Air Force Jets: Fastest time around the bases; Navy Cannons: Longest throw; Marine Sniper: Accuracy of throws; and Army Dropping Bombs: Home Run Derby.
All of the players on the US Military WarDogs National Team were involved in the coordination of the combine events and provided positive guidance towards the children during the combine. They offered small glimpses to the youth of what it is like being in the military and playing baseball.
As the combine was being conducted the WarDogs made it a point to include the parents into the fun. Each child was asked, “If you could pick a military branch, which one would you want to be a part of?” Some of the kids would go into detail about why they chose what they chose. Midway through the combine, the parents were told what their kid(s) gave as their answer.
“I remember going through the names and answers of the kids and hearing active military or veteran parents laughing or sighing depending on the answer they heard. For example, when a child of an Army family chose to be in the Navy, I could hear the parents sigh in disbelief.” – Todd Nieuwenhuis, Co-Founder and Chief Baseball Officer for the WarDogs.
Even parents that were not in the military would laugh because they felt their child’s answer perfectly described their personality.
Nieuwenhuis went on to say, “It was no surprise that when I read off Air Force as one of the answers, one of the parents would say, “now that one is smart”.
Overall, the parents and kids had a great time interacting with the Wardogs coaches and players before, during, and after the event.
“It was the BEST experience for not only my son but my husband and I as well. You guys are beyond amazing for all you did!” – Lisa Mason, parent of youth participant.
“I want to thank everyone that was there for the awesome time my son Brady had. He came home with a bat, shirt, and hat that he is super proud of. This was such an awesome experience for him and I thank you guys so much!!”. – Heather Bannister, parent of youth participant.
The WarDogs overall objective in providing these youth combines is to provide the youth in the community with an experience interacting with current and past military service members while having fun with their other kids on the baseball field.
“We always try to incorporate this type of an event when we bring our national team together. It is important for our youth to know and understand our military and history that we are a part of”. – Bruce Jazwinski, Founder, Chief Executive Officer.
For the city of Goddard and the surrounding communities, the WarDogs hope to be back next year and make it an even better experience for the youth and their families. Please donate to help us provide opportunities for the youth to experience a fun and meaningful event with our current and past military members.
Never Forget our Military. Never Forget our Veterans. Never Forget our Fallen.