August 16, 2022

Greenfield girl enjoys baseball camp for the deaf

For Addy Warrior, 9, attending a baseball camp for deaf and hard of hearing children was a perfect way to experience an inclusive and enlightening athletic culture and play one of her favorite sports with new friends.

Warrior, the daughter of Dan and Mandy Berg and Brody Warrior (Libby Beitz), is a student at the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs. Although she has previously attended camps through school, she was able to participate in the Iowa Baseball Camp for the Deaf for the first time this summer.

The camp is open again after a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19. It allows 7 to 14-year-olds who are deaf or hard of hearing the opportunity to experience all the fun of a baseball camp while also exposing them to others who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The camp consisted of one week full of morning practices at the Johnson Little League Park where the kids worked on hitting skills and outfield work. They even worked some scrimmages into the mix.

The camp is hosted each year by a deaf photographer who works professionally shooting the Iowa Wolves basketball team. He made sure to take plenty of pictures of the kids playing to preserve the memories they made.

Another addition to the camp was a speech from deaf professional baseball player James “JJ” Jones, who spoke to the children about his experiences playing baseball while giving them a good example of someone hard of hearing who has seen great success.

“When we’re here in rural Iowa, Addy doesn’t get to see a lot of that,” explains Mandy.

Addy and the other participants also learned how to sign the national anthem so they could sign it at an Iowa Cubs game they all attended. Addy was even chosen to throw out the first pitch of the game. To round out the week, all the kids got to tour Principal Park, where the Iowa Cubs play, and scrimmaged on the field there.

Though Addy has made friends attending the Iowa School for the Deaf, this camp provided her with a great opportunity to form deeper connections with kids who come to the same camp every year, some of whom she already knew before this summer. This camp also provides Addy and the other children with continued opportunities to surround themselves with other deaf and hard of hearing individuals. From that they can feel a greater sense of community by being able to communicate easily with each other through a mix of ASL, verbal communication and interpreters.

“It’s just so nice to see them all so happy,” says Mandy, who was able to watch Addy and the other participants during part of their practices. “It’s heartwarming to know that they really, truly did have a fun time.”

Next year, Addy plans to attend the same camp and had an excellent time this year getting to make friends and create new memories. Her only complaint? “It was hot,” she signed.