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Boys and Girls Clubs trucks in dirt to solve erosion, flooding at Clark-Ketterman Athletic Fields

clark ketterman fields before.JPG
Posted at 5:00 AM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-28 13:55:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before the Royals RBI youth summer baseball season could officially begin, the fields at Clark-Ketterman Park in Kansas City, Missouri, needed new infields.

“It is unusable, it’s a muddy mess and definitely not the experience we want to offer our young people,” said Dr. Dred Scott, president and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

The infields collect rainwater, leading to flooding and erosion, and are covered in weeds.

The Boys and Girls Clubs has operated the RBI program in Kansas City for years. RBI stands for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. This year, it partnered with Royals Charities to form Royals RBI. The partnership gives youth playing in the program more access to the MLB team's trainers and Urban Youth Academy.

About 700 children from ages 5 to 18, mostly from Kansas City’s urban core, will play baseball and softball through the program this summer. But first, the muddy mess had to be fixed.

“Many of the kids we work with every day don’t have access to the types of facilities that you might find in the more affluent parts of the community,” Scott said. “My motto is all kids deserve a quality experience.”

So Boys and Girls Clubs pushed back the start date of the season by about two weeks and paid $35,000 to have 600 tons of dirt delivered and distributed across the athletic fields at the park.

“We’ll have all of that dirt, 600 tons of dirt, moved in and crowned. These fields will be beautiful,” Scott said.

KCMO’s Parks and Recreation Department owns the park but has an agreement in place with Boys and Girls Clubs allowing the nonprofit to perform maintenance on the fields.

“The investments we’re making in young people, we’re ensuring they have access to greater futures,” Scott said.

Carlos Boyd is one of the players who’s seen baseball shape his future. The 17-year-old has played with the RBI program for nine years, working his way up to the regional team with travels to tournaments.

“Coaches help me mature on and off the field,” Boyd said. “They taught me a lot of things, not just about baseball but about life as well.”

Boys and Girls Clubs continuously raises funds to pay for its programs. Opportunities to donate can be viewed on the nonprofit’s website.