On the afternoon of Saturday, January 9, Jacoby Ellsbury, center fielder for the New York Yankees and an enrolled member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, along with Nike N7, held the fifth annual Jacoby Ellsbury Baseball Camp at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.
Ellsbury, a Nike N7 ambassador whose popularity is not only abundant throughout Native America but across the world, was joined by Arizona Diamondbacks coaches and staff for the four-hour camp, held for Native youth from throughout the state. More than 100 children participated, 17 of whom were from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
“It’s exciting. N7, to me, is having a positive impact on future generations. The Native American youth, these kids today, are our future generation, and it’s exciting to put a smile on their face and get them moving, get them running, that is what Nike is about,” said Ellsbury, a two-time World Series Champion.
The camp began with energy and anticipation as Diamondbacks announcer Steve Berthiaume introduced Ellsbury.
Youth were divided into groups based on their age and rotated through various workshops, which consisted of warm-ups, stretching, and baseball drills including fielding ground balls, catching pop flies, stealing bases and batting practice. Participants also visited agility stations, which tested their running speed and vertical jump.
The camp served not only as fundamental training for the kids, but also as inspiration for Ellsbury himself. “I try to lead by example; I try to live a healthy, active lifestyle, and these kids keep me accountable on a day-to-day basis. I get a tremendous amount of joy from doing this,” Ellsbury said.
Each child had the opportunity to not only learn from Ellsbury and the coaching staff, but also to have a little one-on-one time with the MLB star as he posed for pictures.
“It’s something I remember when I was a young kid and someone came and spoke to me. Those are things I remember as a kid, so hopefully they can take something away from this,” said Ellsbury about why he chooses to host a baseball camp each year.
The event ended with a Q&A session in which Ellsbury was asked a wide range of questions from participants who were interested in learning how many home runs the Golden Glover has hit, what his favorite team was growing up, and whether the MLB star will ever move back to Parker, Arizona, where he lived briefly many years ago. He stated that he’s likely to visit Parker, but it’s unlikely he’d move back.
In closing, Ellsbury spoke of working hard and never giving up. “A lot of the things you guys learned today will help you pursue your goals … If you work on the knowledge you gained from today, you’re going to continue to get better. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish, so there is always room for improvement.”
After the camp had ended, Ellsbury took time to sign autographs and take pictures with the children, parents and volunteers.
Ellsbury, who lives in Scottsdale during the off-season, will be back on the field when the Diamondbacks host the New York Yankees on May 16, 17 and 18 at Chase Field in Phoenix. To learn more about Nike N7, visit http://n7fund.com.