Archive for Volunteers / Buddies

A Day of Smiles, Tears and an Arizona Landmark being unveiled

dreamcatcher_opening.jpgToday at 10:30AM an Arizona Landmark, a point of light in the millions of points of light that make our country great was unveiled in Surprise, Arizona – DreamCatcher Park. This may well be the most amazing facility in the nation for special needs baseball, it certainly is for the State of Arizona. From the cushioned surface, to the stadium seating the bleacher seats, shade canopies and snack bars that make up this really beautiful facility, I can’t say enough. 

There were so many stories both shared with me and those I saw today, I cannot possibly capture and share all of them here, but these are the experiences from the day that struck me the most.

mayorshafer.jpgFirst, I learned that the facility was envisioned by Mayor Joan Shafer (pictured here with our Gene Udvare / Director of Volunteers and CoS Liasion) almost five years ago. One of the council women had brought the same HBO Real Sports video produced by Frank DeFord that has launched a hundred field across the US for the council to view.   After the viewing Joan reported that there was not a dry eye in the place and they looked at one another and said to themselves “we’re going to do this”.

The field was planned but only partially funded by the city council that year, the balance of the funding came through the generous particpaition of the Surprise SunDancers and both the Royals and the Rangers. Today, March 24, 2007 it opened after $1.6M and years of effort.

nick_pitch.JPGThere were probably a hundred or so people present and after Mark Coronado, Mayor Schafer, representatives from the Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals, our own Gene Udvare and a well sung National Anthem rendition the opening pitches were thrown.

Nick Thau made the first pitch to his mom, Christy and then the reason, the purpose and the dream became a reality – DreamCatcher park was officially open for business.

cos_dcp_collage.jpgThe first game was two innings with a mash-up of teams from City of Surprise and the City of Peoria (special thanks to Jackie Stanley!) and while I might find the words, these pictures tell the story pretty well. What they miss are the tears, the ear to ear smiles and the feelings of warmth and love that flowed in, around and through the park. From the players, to the buddies, the coaches and to the fans and then back again, there could not have been a better day than today.

This evening Paul Frei sent an email thanking the a number of people, but I’ll stand up and suggest the real thanks go to Paul, the City of Surprise and all of the people who came up with the phrase “Building A City Beyond Expectations” – thank you to you, the City of Surprise for the courage and vision that goes into making a project like this a reality.


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Miracle League and the Dad’s Network


Our first stop on the Roadshow was a meeting of the Dad’s Network and spoke about Miracle League.  The Dad’s Network is part of Raising Special Kids, ( a great resource for parents given the blessing / challenge of raising a special needs child.  Present at the meeting was a reporter from the Arizona Republic, Ms. Barbara Yost, who is working on content for upcoming article – we’ll all be interested in reading her articles.

We talked with the Dad’s who find a that attending the Dad’s Network meeting are a great outlet for one another in dealing with the special needs of their children.  Gene is working with more organizations than I am, but I’ve been giving some great info on Special Olympics and will be heading off to talk to the people from Muscular Dystrophy this next week.

PowerPoint from Dad’s Network Meeting

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