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When I first came to UNO I was a selfish person, I didnít really care about the community I live in because I figured I would spend four years in Omaha and either get drafted and play professional baseball or start my professional career in construction. Volunteering is a great way for everyone to get involved in your community. A volunteer is a person who performs or offers to perform a service voluntarily and with out compensation. Volunteering is one thing everyone can do to help our society prosper. There are many things we can volunteer for like serving food at a homeless shelter, acting as a chairperson for a charitable organization, or being a mentor to the young people of our nation. One thing that I have always found very rewarding is volunteering to mentor young baseball players who apsire to be where I am at today. If you ask any young baseball player, they will tell you they want to play baseball at the next level. There are many young players that have the talent to be great at the game, but they lack the focus and the work ethic to really ďmakeĒ it. When I was presented with this opportunity by my coach it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
As I said before when I first got to UNO I wasnít really a community oriented person. My mind set then was the less time I spend worrying about what is going on in the community the more time I could spent working out and getting closer to my dream of becoming a professional baseball player. My coach saw this in me and suggested that I help him out with some baseball camps for young ball players. At first I thought this was a waste of my time and I couldnít see how this could make me a better baseball player. He then told me the point of this was not to make me a better baseball player but to get me more active in the community and grow as a person. He repeatedly reminded me that after I volunteered at one of his camps I will realize what he is talking about and that I will be addicted to the feeling of helping another person.
The first camp he wanted me to work was last fall through the Strike Zone Baseball Academy. On the way to the field I was a little nervous because I have never done anything like this before. I kept wondering what I would do if the kids asked a question that I didnít know the answer to or something I didnít feel comfortable anwering. When I pulled up to the field the parking lot was full and there had to be at least thirty kids waiting in line to register and probably another fifty starting to gather in the outfield to warm up and play catch. As I parked my car and walked up to the field my coach met me and introduced me to all the other players and coaches that would be working the camp along with me. The coaches then told us the way the camp was going to be run along with all of the drills we would be doing. The first thing we did was introductions, Iím not a big fan of getting in front of people and talking but as I looked around at all the kids I saw that they were looking up to us players like we were all they wanted to be. This was the first time I realized that what I was doing was helping these kids enjoy the game of baseball. When they see a player at the level I am at having a lot of fun playing the game I think it gives them hope that they can play Americaís game at a hight level and still have fun with it. After the introductions we split the kids into groups of ten and each player and coach took a group to work out with all day. During the first fifteen minutes I learned so much about all the kids. It seemed like they were exactly like I was at that age. They were all very eager to learn something new about the game and they were all looking for encouragement to keep playing. The highlight of my day was during the hitting stations. This young ball player was struggling pretty badly because he had a minor flaw with his swing. I saw it right away and I showed him how to change it. The look on his face when he crushed the first pitch I threw to him was priceless. I felt a feeling of happiness that I think you can only get by helping someone else. As the camp went on I grew more and more attached to the kids I was working with and I felt as if I had made a positive impact on their futures. What they donít realize is they impacted my life as much or more than I impacted theirs.
When you volunteer you are giving something back to your community by lending a helping hand to people and organizations. I think it is important for all Americans to volunteer their time whenever they can. What you may not realize is that volunteering also benefits you as an individual. There are many good reasons to get involved in the community, including learning something about yourself. I never knew how addicting helping others could be. It seems like it only took me one time volunteering to change the way I look at my time here in Omaha going to school and playing baseball. I am no longer that guy that doesnít really care whats happening in the city I live in. I am a lot more conscious of my surroundings and this is all because my coach saw a flaw in my personality and all it took to fix it was to volunteer my time helping others. I like to think that is what makes America great, people will go the extra mile to help someone else out that they barely know. My coach knew me for a week and thought that helping out with a baseball camp would help me become a better person and maybe even a better ball player. He also helped me, help young kids that I have never met to play the game of baseball right. The way itís suppose to be played.