Blue Crabs play ball with members from The Arc
Blue Crabs play inclusive game with The Arc
Every year, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs visit The Arc of Southern Maryland for a baseball game. This year marks the Blue Crabs’ 10th annual Community Caravan, when players take time away from their practice schedules to visit with fans and organizations throughout Southern Maryland, finding various ways to give back to their community.
For six years, the Blue Crabs have joined The Arc Southern Maryland at the park to play a game of pickup baseball which is inclusive and fun for people of all abilities, a news release states.
Each year, The Arc invites employees and the people they support to join in, with everyone getting a turn to “run” the bases — whether they’re running, rolling along in their wheelchair, scooting along with their walker, or even being supported by their favorite staff person.
“For these individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, there’s no barrier that keeps them from playing ball, and no limit to the number of smiles on the mound,” the release states.
Six members of the Blue Crabs team came out on Wednesday for the Community Caravan visit with The Arc.
“We have lots of friends here today,” Katie Wood said of the Blue Crabs players.
Wood began receiving Community Learning Services with The Arc last year. This was her first year attending the Community Caravan event, and she is already looking forward to their next visit.
The Blue Crabs give back in different ways for each place they visit during their Community Caravan tour. While The Arc of Southern Maryland asks the team to play ball, the Blue Crabs do much more than that — helping people to run the bases, teaching them the best batting stance, and cheering them on as they hit the ball across the field or make their way through the bases. The Blue Crabs team members also make time to sign autographs and do a meet-and-greet for a crowd that has grown to well over 100 attendees from The Arc.
Employees of The Arc that have been around year after year attest to the absolute joy and excitement brought to the individuals they support, with just a couple hours of baseball.
“To see the excitement on the faces of the individuals we support from all three counties was truly something,” said Matthew Hoepfl, a program manager for The Arc.
“It’s great to see the players connect with the individuals,” said Jennie Parran, executive assistant at The Arc’s. She said the individuals supported at The Arc “look forward to this day of fun” each and every year.
Blue Crabs players Zach Wilson, Mike Blanke, Kyano Cummings and Gary Brown help to set up tables for spectators before their game with The Arc.
Bobbi Walton, an individual receiving services from The Arc in St. Mary’s County, poses with the Blue Crabs teammates after getting autographs from each of them. Players pictured from left are: Gary Brown, Brian Grening, Gaby Hernandez, Mike Blanke, Kyano Cummings and Zach Wilson.
On the morning of the Community Caravan, Jim Parks, Evelyn Harris and Tammy Cotner take a front row seat to the game. All three have been receiving services from The Arc more than 20 years and look forward to this day each year since the Blue Crabs began visiting six years ago.
All six of the visiting Blue Crabs players spent time signing baseballs, hats and other memorabilia for their fans at The Arc. Robert Mullins, who has received community learning services from The Arc since last year, gets a Blue Crabs hat autographed.