Baseball, softball camp July 24-26 in Mobile includes Fr. Boutin
By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE — Youth baseball and softball players have a rare chance to grow in their faith and their sport in the same setting.
Barry Dean, president of the Association of Catholic College Coaches and Athletes, has organized a baseball and softball camp that he says is “an authentic Catholic camp.” The camp runs July 24-26 at Westside Complex (1001 Schillinger Road) in Mobile and is for all boys and girls entering grades one through eight.
While the camp includes time for on-field instruction, it also emphasizes the Catholic faith and includes, daily Gospel readings, Mass and Catholic faith testimonials. Dean said all members of the camp staff are Catholic and it includes Fr. Chris Boutin, parochial vicar at St. Dominic Parish, who previously played baseball at Auburn University Montgomery.
Barry Dean is also the brother of Fr. James Dean, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Prattville.
Other staff members include area college and high school coaches and players.
“I’ve always wanted to do these faith-based camps,” Dean said. “I’ve always wanted to infuse the Catholic faith into sports. It’s real simple. I’m not reinventing the wheel.”
Dean’s professional life has revolved around baseball. He was a longtime college baseball coach and is the president and executive director of the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.
Dean said his Catholic faith was reignited and in 2011 he made the Association of Catholic College Coaches and Athletes a 501c3.
“My faith has come along to match my love of sports,” Dean said. “My faith trumps my love of baseball now, thanks to a reawakening.”
Dean said he’s organized baseball camps since 1990, but this is the first faith-based youth camp he’s put together for the ACCA.
The ACCA’s mission is to “educate, honor, inspire and evangelize Catholic coaches and athletes of any sport in the United States and around the world. This will in turn allows them to better serve the athletes with whom they coach and teammates with whom they play in a Christian manner.”
Preregistration is available at accanda.org (click on Upcoming Events) through 5 p.m. Saturday, July 21 for $75. Onsite camper registration on the first day of camp is $85.
Parents are also encouraged to attend each day’s small-group faith discussions.
“Hopefully there’s a draw there – faith and sports. It’s almost like Vacation Bible School, but with sports,” Dean said.
— For a complete itinerary and more information, visit www.accanda.org or email Barry Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org