The week of June 22 – 26 found the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, holding the Badges for Baseball program at the Gari Melcher Complex in Stafford County. Over 70 boys and girls, ages 8 – 13, from a variety of neighborhoods throughout Stafford County, participated in an exciting week of baseball, “Quick Ball” and instruction in a character education program entitled “Healthy Choices, Healthy Children”.
Under the guidance of Sgt. Randy Shaw, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office was once again awarded a grant from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to have Badges for Baseball. The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation provided funds for the equipment, supplies and curriculum. Badges for Baseball not only teaches baseball and softball skills but also ensures that each child participates in instruction in character education. Deputies delivered 12 vital life lessons to the young people using a variety of methods: visual tools, a coach’s manual, coach’s tips and an activity book for the participants. These lessons helped kids understand the importance of choosing to stay in school, staying off harmful substances and staying away from negative peer groups and gangs. In addition the young people involved in this program had an excellent opportunity to interact with law enforcement officers in a positive setting. One deputy told about an instance where he was doing a pro-active patrol in a neighborhood that doesn’t always appreciate the efforts of law enforcement. The deputy was accused of hassling the young people in the neighborhood by an adult. When the deputy asked the young people if he was “hassling” them, the kids said, “No way…he’s our Coach!” Badges for Baseball really works!!
The program was so successful last year the Ripken Foundation asked Sgt. Shaw to make the program even larger. Sgt. Shaw increased the number of youth participating but also increased the number of meetings with the young people to ensure that the children had even more opportunities to interact with law enforcement personnel all through the summer. Numerous staff, both sworn and civilian, from the Sheriff’s Office, as well as non-Sheriff’s Office personnel, acted as coaches and assistants.
“The skills and lessons taught during this week, provided by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, will benefit these young people in so many ways,” states Sheriff Charles E. Jett. “I appreciate the hard work done by Sgt. Shaw and the many volunteers that made this program possible!!”