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Confederation of European Baseball

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Baseball Le’Kulam - Program for Children to play Baseball in Israel

Baseball Le’Kulam (Baseball for All) is a program that aims to bring Jewish Israeli and Arab Israeli children together to play baseball and learn about one another.  The program is a joint effort between the Israel Association of Baseball (http://www.baseball.org.il/en/), the governing body for baseball in Israel since 1986, and Play Global (http://www.play-global.org/), an organization that teaches baseball to coaches and youth in developing countries and areas of conflict. 

The Baseball Le’Kulam program is designed for a group of 30 kids between 12 and 14 years-old - 15 Jewish Israeli kids, and 15 Arab Israeli kids.

The staff will be made up of coaches from Play Global and the IAB. Play Global will bring Tom Gillespie, Executive Director of the organization and scout for the Pittsburg Pirates with extensive coaching experience around Europe and Africa who has been working on developing baseball internationally for over a decade.  From the IAB, National Director Nate Fish and a talented group of coaches will help lead the sessions on the field. 

Players will all be new to baseball.  After the program, we will seek to incorporate them into the structure of the IAB’s nation wide leagues by finding local teams for them to play for.  The emphasis of the practices and games will be on learning the rules and fundamentals of the game and sportsmanship.  During the educational portions of the program, we will refer back to things the kids learned on the field about baseball as a model for life.

Our lead educator for Baseball Le’Kulam will be Amal Abu-Sif (http://amalabusif.com/), a PhD candidate from the Department of Social Work at Ben Gurion University and Associate Director of Kivumin, Israel’s premier gap year program.  Amal has extensive experience working on co-existence in Israel, speaks Arabic, Hebrew, and English, and has valuable connections in the Israeli Arab community.  Along with Amal, there will be bi and tri-lingual Jewish and Arab coaches helping run the sessions, supervise, and learn.

The pilot for Baseball Le’Kulam will take place at Baptist Village in Petach Tikvah (http://www.thebaptistvillage.com/), the location of the only full-sized baseball field in Israel that conveniently also has housing and dining facilities.  The program is scheduled to take place over the course of roughly 24 hours.  It will begin after-school on Thursday, March 5th, and will end the following afternoon, Friday, March 6.  There is potential for growth both in the number of participants, and the number of times we execute the program annually.  We would like Baseball Le’Kulam to take place 3 times a year, once in March, once in June, and once in October.

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