Baseball Diaries: * VIDEO & PICTURES * Days 2-4

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This is Mr. Ian. He is a Canadian who with his wife visits St. Maarten several times a year. The couple saw we were raising money for the trip and they contributed BIG. To top it off Mr. Ian drove nearly three hours one way to visit with the boys. He spent the day with us, worked the bowling alley auto score machines and promised to visit the Club House next time on St. Maarten. Thank you so much.

VIDEO: THE NIAGARA FALLS !!! By Zack Brooks

Day 2: Wednesday August 3rd 

Got up early and the boys started writing in their journals. Triston was the best. He saw the Big Dipper, which in the Underground Railway song was called the drinking gourd. He announced that we followed the drinking gourd north to Canada.

After a little breakfast, which included a maple breakfast cookie and coffee for coach, it was outside to throw baseballs in Canada. And of course, to write on the car windows. Most of the boys have never seen morning dew.

Next up, the falls. The boys all were given red rain coats. They had seen the video of the Hornblower ride, so wanted to stand at the front of the boat to get maximum amount of wet. We got so close the Falls the boys thought they could reach out and touch it. When the boat turned around and headed back to the Dock, it was 9-year-old Triston that spotted the bridge between Canada and the US and shouted: “look it’s the Rainbow Bridge.”

We had a quick lunch at Wendy’s and then walked to the Bird Kingdom. The boys saw all kinds of pretty birds, some turtles and even snakes.

They finished the day playing waffle ball in the backyard until 9:00pm as it gets dark late. The adults grilled hot dogs and all was well.


Day 3: Thursday August 4th 

Halton County Radial Railway

Today the boys saw and rode on trains. The Radial Railway is an interesting Museum as they try to keep all their equipment in working order, and instead of just static displays they run the trains.

The boys first rode on an electric train that was made in 1893. Six-year-old Solanio decided it was very slow, but he liked it as it traveled through a nice wooded area.

He met a Muslim on the train. A little girl and her family sat in front of us. The little guy said, loudly of course, “Is that a Muslim?”

One of our AUC volunteers had done a talk about Muslims and understanding and accepting differences before we left. It paid off. I said ask. So he did. It went, “cuss me. Are you Muslim?” The Mom said yes. I told Sol to introduce himself. He did. She did. I told him to say where he was from. He did and the little girl did. And in a few minutes they were chatting. As we got off the train, I thanked the mom and wished her a good vacation. She smiled and said thanks. What a nice encounter. Just that one meeting was worth the talk.

The group then got a guided tour of the Museum. PD our model train and team mascot was photographed next to each car.

Then it was off for another train ride. A 1920 inter-urban to the ice cream stand that was set up in a 1950s vintage dining car.

Back home we went. The boys played waffle ball home run derby until 9:00pm. We grilled hamburgers and then came in to write in our journals. Day 3 done.

VIDEO: TRAINS !!! By Zack Brooks


Day 4: Friday, August 5

Started the day writing thank you letters. Three Rotary Clubs in Canada have come together to host us on the ultimate Dream Reward.

As Player Development works on the premise that rewarding good behavior is more powerful than punishing bad, the children earn baseball cards for attempting to do reading and writing work. If the child is successful in their attempt, they get to pick the card. If they get three picked cards in a day, they get fun time and can play with our model train or one of the other toys we have acquired.

This year we were fortunate to meet Lezlie Murch from Rotary St. Catherine’s. She proposed the Ultimate Reward: a trip to Canada for the 10 children that did well in baseball and school all year.

To put together this trip she brought together Rotary of St. Catherine’s, Grimsby and Niagara. All the team had to do was raise the money for air fare.

A big thank you to all. Fortunately for us, the Rotary Clubs on St. Maarten helped us too, as did several business and lots of individuals.

Today was a work morning. The team went to the Niagara Tennis Academy, which is owned and operated by our Rotary Host Lezlie. The Academy is a high performance training center hosting top players from around the world including Russia, Ukraine and Mexico.

We were fortunate to spend the morning with author and motivational speaker Miriam Laundry.  She worked with all of us on positive thinking and getting rid of the word “can’t.” She had the individuals write down one thing they can’t do. Then one at a time they came up and put the paper with the “can’t” into “Shreddy,” the paper shredder.

After a break, which included doughnuts and a Maple one with cream filling for the coach, the team got play time. They started with a warm up, went on to play volleyball and then soccer.

The volunteers had a social work session with Mike and Jean, two of the Rotary members of the VTT team that visited St. Maarten 18 months ago, and set the wheels in motion for the trip.

As it was warm in Canada, not to the boys, it was off to the pool in Jordon, and some fun splashing, playing and working on Little Kings back floating. Three life guards supervised the group along with our adults. There was also a splash pad for the non-swimmers and a playground.

A quick change into dry clothes, a ride back to the house and then off to the bowling alley.  Turns out bowling was a big success as few had ever bowled. Coach offered some instruction and pins started flying. Jansen and Lewis had three strikes each. Little King broke 100 points each of the three games played.

Tre’s mom gave it a try and showed great improvement, as did Stacy and Bre. Stacey even thinks she got good enough to beat “Turner” her boyfriend.

Pizza arrived and was gone almost as quick. 12 pizzas disappeared as if by magic. Little Puppy, the boys’ nickname for our 6-year-old, cannot sit still. He got one piece of pizza then had to get up to see what other kinds were available. When he returned, Thomas the engine, was sitting on his plate and a bite was taken from his slice.

Puppy gobbled up the slice and asked coach to get him another. When coach returned, Thomas was on his plate and Puppy was grinning from ear to ear.

Back home, time for journals and bed.

More videos and picture can be found on Tom Burnet Facebook page… click here