A "Field of Dreams" Come True

Vancouver Canadians have broken ground on B.C.'s first and only fully accessible Challenger Baseball field

By Rob Fai / Almira Bardai | July 16, 2015 4:40 PM

(Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium - Vancouver, B.C.) - It's official! British Columbia's first and only permanent baseball field specifically designed to give children with physical and cognitive challenges access to the game is currently under construction. The Vancouver Canadians are excited to partner with the BC Challenger Baseball Program, Variety - The Children's Charity, Jays Cares Foundation and the Vancouver Board Of Parks and Recreation to finally bring this dream to life.

The Challenger Baseball Field will provide children with cognitive or physical disabilities the chance to experience the thrill of playing organized baseball, all while being part of a team and developing physical and social skills.

"The Vancouver Canadians are proud to be a part of this monumental endeavor", says Andy Dunn, president of the Vancouver Canadians. "This offers an amazing and much needed opportunity for these special athletes. The BC Challenger Baseball program will finally have a permanent field to call home, and we're delighted to be a part of it."

For over 25 years, the BC Challenger Baseball program has been working with deserving Challenger athletes and this marks a special time for the organization. 

"Thanks to this partnership, the new Challenger Baseball field will provide an all-weather, all-season field that these special athletes can play on", says Ian McLean, Provincial Coordinator of BC Challenger Baseball. "This marks the start of a new legacy for British Columbia, and more importantly, for the BC Challenger Baseball program."

"A Park Board priority is parks and recreation for all so I'm very pleased that by next summer there will be a baseball field at Hillcrest Park serving special needs children and their families," said Vancouver Park Board Chair John Coupar.

"Jays Care Foundation is very proud to invest $100,000 towards the first fully accessible field in British Columbia." said Robert Witchel, Executive Director of Jays Care Foundation. "As Canada's team we go beyond the ballpark for children all across the country. And we are particularly pleased that children in the Vancouver area with cognitive or physical disabilities will soon have an equal opportunity to play ball on a fully accessible field and benefit from the life-skills that are learned on the diamond. The Blue Jays enjoy a tremendous amount of support in B.C. and we are excited to extend our partnership with the Vancouver Canadians to bring baseball to 1,200 of the region's children and youth."

"Variety is thrilled to be the title partner in this initiative," says Dave McConachie, Interim Executive Director at Variety - The Children's Charity. "We believe children who have special needs are champions, capable of achieving remarkable little victories. We look

forward to seeing more kids benefit from this excellent program, and encourage more families to reach out to us if they think we can help."

Everyone deserves the chance to play and enjoy sports in a safe and secure environment. The new Challenger Baseball Field will offer this and so much more. The completion of this new "Field of Dreams" will provide the children of the Challenger Baseball program the thrill of being a part of a baseball team and experiencing the game just like the Vancouver Canadians themselves.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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