New league brings sense of ‘belonging’ for some in the Central community

There is always a need for activities that involve children with exceptionalities and the Central Area Youth League (CAYL) is looking to help fill that need in the form of sports.

CAYL is starting an inclusive baseball league for those ranging from age 4 to 21 with developmental or physical disabilities. The league aims to provide a safe and fun experience for the children and allow them to play baseball in an inclusive environment.

A Facebook group, SpedTacular Kids of Central, is a parent-created group that helps connect children with exceptionalities. Members of the Facebook group also help come up with the idea to start the new endeavor.

“We saw there was a need to bridge the gap for our community,” said Caitlyn Robinson, a member of the Facebook group and one of the organizers of the league. “There is Miracle League in Baton Rouge, but everyone can’t travel to Baton Rouge. I have two children with disabilities. We never participated in Miracle League.”

Robinson said registration for the league continues until Feb. 18. The league will have four total teams broken down into two teams for grades PreK-5 and two for grades 6-12. The registration fee is $30.

The games will be once a week starting in March and there will be no practice. Similar to other leagues, there will be volunteers, who will also serve as buddies for the players.

Robinson said the interest from the community in helping out has been through the roof.

“We’ve had so many sponsors,” she said. “We have more volunteers signed up than kids so far.”

Everyone who volunteers must be at least 14 years old. The league is also looking for volunteer coaches, umpires, and greeters. Robinson said the league could also use some basic equipment, such as bats and balls.

“We really want to provide them a safe and fun environment for them,” she said. “This provides them a sense of belonging in the community. This is not only for the kids with disabilities but also for those without. The kids volunteering could also have experiences that could change their lives.”

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