On Thursday afternoon, Deuces, WTP and I visited the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy to deliver the goodies we were able to collect at the end of 2022 as described in a previous post — The Kids Do Love It – Donate Your Unused RCR Points. This was a collaborative effort of TalkNats and two Facebook groups (Nationals RCR Codes and Diehard Nationals Fans), and almost certainly others who saw the tweeted and re-tweeted links to the effort. Remarkably, we ended up with 83,862 RCR points, including over 20,000 points from someone who emailed me on New Years Eve and wanted to know if there was still time to donate. (The answer was “yes, absolutely!”). Thank you to everyone who contributed. In addition, we appreciate the folks who made direct donations of swag they had already obtained for their points. These will go to good use as well.
One we submitted the points to the Nats, WTP worked with his Nationals Account Executive Jake to coordinate the pickup of the items. And Jake graciously arranged to add a few extra items to our cache. We would be delighted if this largesse continues in future years, but, of course, no promises were made.
The pick-up/drop-off was arranged for Thursday, January 19. This year, the three of us, along with Jake (who is also Deuces’ Account Exec and a big supporter of the Academy) delivered the items in person. Janay Morant, who works in the Volunteerism & Alumni Relations department of the Youth Baseball Academy, welcomed us and explained the mission and scope of the Academy. She then gave us a tour of what is really a first-class operation, featuring classrooms, study areas, a full-scale industrial kitchen for the meals that the YBA provides to the students from DC Wards 7 and 8 who attend, and, of course, well-manicured baseball fields and practice facilities. Janay also noted that the YBA is always looking for volunteer mentors and coaches, if anyone is inclined to help out in this truly life changing initiative.
The donated items are not going to be distributed in a giant, one-time giveaway. Instead, the enormous number of items we were able to provide will allow the YBA to reward the kids throughout 2023. Part of the drill at the YBA are awards for good deeds — doing something special or exceptional. And not game winning hits or home runs. Rather, the kids qualify for recognition by, for example, working hard in practice, improving performance on schoolwork, or showing kindness or sportsmanship.
We took a bunch of photos of the swag that your donations of RCR points helped us accumulate. Lots of the pictures are boxes – which are filled with the items sitting on top of those boxes. And as you can see there is no shortage of Soto jerseys. With Elian now under contract these can be worn as either a collector’s item or a harbinger of things to come.
The three of us plan to do this again next year and we are hoping that Nats fans are as generous in 2023 as they were in 2022. Thanks again, everyone!