Last issue’s Intentional Walk featured a first hand account from SCORE International’s 2011 November Baseball Outreach to the Dominican Republic. We’ve received numerous requests for more information about this Outreach. Keith Madison, National Director of Baseball for SCORE International, helped us out in the following interview
Q: What's a typical day like on the November Baseball Outreach?
In a few days, we accomplish much: after breakfast, we have a short chapel. Then we load the buses and travel to six different baseball fields within the Santo Domingo/San Pedro area to conduct free two-to-three hour baseball clinics. After the clinic, we gather and share our faith. Before we leave, we give away equipment to the kids. Most of them are very poor and some show up to the clinics without shoes, let alone a glove or a bat.
In the afternoons, opportunities to go out in different areas and do mission work are offered. We've taken groups to local supermarkets to purchase non-perishables to take to a sugar cane village where the people may only have one meal a day. SCORE supports a boys' and a girls' "home" in the Dominican. Many choose to visit these orphanages and spend time with the children.
Following the optional afternoon mission work, we have dinner. In the evenings, we have exceptional speakers – often, Major League players share personal testimonies. The November Baseball Outreach is a mission trip and rewarding men's retreat
Q: After you share your faith with the kids, what happens next?
SCORE International has full-time missionaries in the area who follow up with those who ask for Christian guidance, inviting them to churches SCORE has built and supports.
Q: How many people usually attend from the US and what are their backgrounds?
In 2011, 230 Americans from all walks of life made the trip. Andy Pettitte, Andy Benes, Mariana Rivera and Nelson Cruz have attended this Outreach. A lot of minor league players, well-known college coaches and top high school coaches come, but many who attend just love baseball and see this as an opportunity to use their love of the game to help make a difference in a third world country. I am reminded of I Peter 4:10: "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others."
Before 2004, I had never been on a mission trip; I never knew how I could serve and help people. I didn't think I had any skills that could benefit anyone. Then I realized that by using baseball as a catalyst, I could serve and share my faith.
After just four days in the D.R., we are able to put on clinics for around 8,000 kids and adults, teaching baseball skills and sharing our faith.
Q: After eight years of helping with this Outreach, what facet of this experience stands out to you?
Most American baseball "guys" go on this trip is to use the gifts God has given us to help youth in the D.R. What is always striking to me is how the Americans are rewarded even more than the Dominicans we attempt to help. After all, Jesus reminds us in Acts 20:35 that "it is more blessed to give than receive."
Q: How much does it cost to go on a trip like this?
The cost is $650 per person, covering a hotel room, meals, ground transportation and insurance. Airfare isn't included in the cost and typically runs around $400-$800 depending on departure location. A number of younger guys ask friends and their churches to sponsor them. SCORE International is a non-profit organization, so all gifts are tax deductible.
Q: What are the dates of this year's November Outreach and who should I contact?
This year's trip is scheduled for November 11-15th 2013. For more information or to sign up, contact SCORE at www.scoreinternational.org