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Saints, US Marshalls Host 400 Local Kids at Saints Facility

Mr. Benson invited group after inclement weather canceled original location

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New Orleans, LA – On Thursday, March 3rd and Friday March 4th, Deputy United States Marshals (DUSMs) and Task Force Officers (TFOs) from the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans teamed up with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to host a Badges for Baseball camp for over 200 local middle school students from four schools.

The two-day camp was to be held at the Carrollton-Audubon Batture Fields in Uptown New Orleans, which was made possible by the Carrolton Boosters Club. However, on the last day of the camp was rained out and almost had to be cancelled until Mr. Tom Benson and the New Orleans Saints organization graciously opened the doors to their indoor training facility in Metairie, LA for the campers. This was a great opportunity for all of the students, some of which had never been outside of their city limits. The students were addressed and provided words of encouragement by Mr. Benson and Saints cornerback Leigh Torrence during their visit.

The schools that participated in this camp were Arthur Ashe Charter School, Sophie B. Wright Charter School, James M. Singleton Charter School, and Samuel J. Green Charter School.  The camp was based on a model of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation's overnight camp in Aberdeen, MD, which the United States Marshals Service has supported since 2009.  This was the first-ever event of its kind to occur outside of Aberdeen, MD. The Eastern District of Louisiana was thrilled to help launch Badges for Baseball not only for the city of New Orleans, but also for the entire U.S. Marshals Service.

The DUSMs received most valuable assistance and support for this extremely successful camp from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, the Louisiana State Police, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, the Slidell Police Department.

Upon their arrival to camp each day, students were placed into teams, ran through warm-up exercises, and rotated through instructional, fundamental baseball skills stations, which included infield, outfield, hitting, and throwing. At the end of the day they played actual baseball games and a game called RipKen Quickball. Most importantly however, the participants were given the opportunity to interact with Deputy U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement officers who served as their mentors and coaches.

Badges for Baseball is a nation-wide initiative that was created in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice as a juvenile crime prevention tool. The program aims to enhance the relationship between law enforcement officers and kids in communities across the country using baseball as the medium.  The program reaches kids at an impressionable age, giving them the opportunity to see law enforcement officers as mentors, friends, and coaches, rather than as adversaries.

As part of the program, law enforcement officers become coaches, teaching important lessons of teamwork, communication, respect, and leadership that apply to life on and off the field. Additionally, kids learn the value of a healthy lifestyle, the importance of setting goals, and how to achieve those goals, such as by staying in school, not joining gangs, and staying away from drugs. As a result of the program, children and their families are more likely to see their local law enforcement community as an agent for positive change and safety.

For further information about Badges for Baseball contact the E/LA U.S. Marshals Service at (504) 589-6079 press 1 or visit the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation's website at www.ripkenfoundation.org. To learn more about the New Orleans Saints visit www.neworleanssaints.com. To learn more about the U.S. Marshals Service visit www.usmarshals.gov and to learn more about the Eastern District of Louisiana Marshals office visit http://www.usmarshals.gov/district/la-e/index.html.

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