U.S. Marines mentor Australian youth through softball

28 Jul 2015 | Cpl. Reba James 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

WANGURI, Australia – U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, participated in a softball clinic for local youth July 23 to 25 at Tracy Village Social and Sports Club, Wanguri, Northern Territory, Australia.

“This weekend is a little special for us: this particular program we’re doing is through the school system and we’ve gone around to all of the communities and different regional areas and we’ve selected a squad of girls to come to this camp this weekend,” said Nicky Baldwin, executive officer of Softball Northern Territory. “(This was) a development camp for them for three days, teaching them the skills and everything they need to know about the sport.”

The Marines supported the U.S. Department of State-sponsored community event with the Northern Territory’s school softball program to mentor the students and teach them how to play competitively.

“A relationship was built between Softball Northern Territory and the U.S. Marines, and (the U.S. State Department) has been kind enough to continue the relationship with us and offer a small grant to help us put this camp on to cover the food, equipment and other ancillary costs involved,” said Baldwin. “It has given us an opportunity to build rapport with the Marines and have them come out and foster community relationships.”

The program exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, and self-esteem of young girls, by doing so opening opportunities to them for the future.

“The outreach is amazing and (the Marines have) such a strong knowledge of softball and baseball,” said Baldwin. “The U.S. Marines provided that knowledge, sharing it with us and it is fantastic.”

The program was unique because the U.S. Marines were given the opportunity to interact and teach girls softball to prepare them for future competitions. The Marines of MRF-D gave guidance in teaching techniques, encouraging players and providing examples of teamwork during the development camp.

“It’s good to be around kids and softball, because I love baseball and being able to teach kids,” said Gunnery Sgt. Pedro Chamorro, a supply chief with HMH-463, MRF-D and a native of Miami. “I’m just here to make sure they stick to the techniques they are learning here and motivating them. The other Marines seem to be enjoying it as well and are making a difference here.”

Marine community engagements in the Northern Territory are intended to add depth to their relationship with Australia.

“I think we’re learning from each other and (the kids) are really interested in our culture and vice versa, we like to learn about them and I’m glad we had an opportunity to share what both our cultures are about,” finished Chamorro.