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2008 Coach & Participant Remarks
2007 Coach & Participant Remarks
2006 Coach & Participant Remarks

2005 Coach & Participant Remarks
2004 Coach & Participant Remarks
2003 Coach & Participant Remarks
2002 Coach & Participant Remarks
VIP Guest Remarks

 2008 COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
 
 Frank Fries (2008 USA Chaperone)
I want to express my thanks to everyone who gave me the opportunity to travel to Japan participate as a chaperone at the 19th World Children's Baseball Fair. This was my second year as a chaperone and I for a second time I had a great time. I was happy to see familiar faces amongst the coaches, chaperones and the WCBF staff in Japan. It was like a reunion and I felt part of a large worldwide family.

It was a pleasure to meet and share and adventure with Jack, Indigo, Brian, Jasmine and Ethan. We had a trying and fun time just getting to Nagoya, our flight was delayed, we missed our connecting flight from Narita to Nagoya and then had to take two trains, one of which was the Shinkansen or Bullet Train. From that point through a busy and amazing week, we experienced some great cultural events, saw some great sights, ate a lot of food, experienced some great baseball clinics and fun games, and made friends that I hope to stay connected to for a lifetime.

It was a pleasure to see our clinic group come together, for one week twenty young boys and girls joined together as ballplayers, they got to know each other, cheered, exchanged high-fives and became a team with everyone supporting each other while playing the best game in world.

To Jack, Indigo, Brian, Jasmine and Ethan, I am proud of the way your represented the USA and USA Baseball, you are all wonderful ambassadors of the game and I hope this experience will remain with you throughout your lives. To Mitsuko, our host, thank you for translating, explaining and your patience through out the baseball fair. Finally, to Dr. Agishi and the entire WCBF staff and coaches, I can only imagine the amount of work required to make this event such a success. Thank you very much for all your hard work and everything that you did to make our stay in Japan a pleasure and lots of fun.

2007 COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
 
Steve Sotir 2007 WCBF Head Coach
Regardless of where the WCBF is held, the baseball clinics are the highlight of the event each year. This year's IBAF coaching staff arrived in Puerto Rico with 182 years combined teaching and coaching experience. The IBAF coaches were from Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan and the United States.

The 170 children, representing 14 countries, participated in the six days of clinics that taught a variety of baseball skills. Basic fundamentals were taught in a progression format which made teaching and learning productive and fun. At the end of each day, games were played to help reinforce what had been taught and the opportunity to learn the rules and strategy of playing baseball.

This year's clinics were held at five different locations. While some may have viewed this as a challenge, each local host made it a positive and smooth transition from site to site. This clinic schedule gave the coaches, chaperones and children the chance to visit other beautiful areas of Puerto Rico.

I would like to thank the following: Mr. Oh, Mr. Aaron, and Dr. Agishi for their ongoing involvement and support; the WCBF offices in Japan, Puerto Rico and North America; and Mizuno, Decente and Kenko, the equipment sponsors.

My compliments to the children for giving their best effort each day...I tip my hat to the chaperones for their cooperation and patience...and I truly appreciated the never ending enthusiasm of the IBAF coaches. A special thanks to Coach Larry Bryant, my right hand man,
whose experience and humor helped make this year's WCBF an event to remember!
Tracy Sheehy, 2007 USA 2 Chaperone: It’s been awhile and I’m still in total shock of what a terrific experience it was being a Chaperone for the 2007 WCBF in Puerto Rico. It has left me nearly speechless.  I would never have imagined that even with as much work as was involved that I would have had as much fun as I did. As time goes on I miss the kids more and more each day. Being a part of this event has given me a whole new outlook on reality. Seeing nearly 200 kids from all over the world join together to become close friends, teammates and world ambassadors in just a short period of time is truly amazing. Even the shy and homesick kids at the beginning of the week opened up and really seemed to enjoy themselves. The sad part was seeing all the tears the last two days as everyone started to part ways. But not only do we have just the memories and photos to remind us of this great experience, we now have new friends from all over the world. Oh and I think we even learned a new basic food group: Rice and Beans. And yes, let’s not forget that the kids have new baseball skills that they can use while pursuing their dreams of playing in the big leagues someday.
On a personal note: I would like to say Thank You to the entire WCBF staff (the Japanese staff you guys rock-you pulled out some amazing miracles during the week), to all the other chaperones, coaches, the entire host staff from Puerto Rico, and all the behind the scene players for all of their help and support , but most importantly I want to thank all of the kids for making this a truly wonderful experience and to Jason, Aaron, Daichi, Liam and Brandon a special thanks to them for giving me a few more gray hairs. They match the ones my kids give me!
2006 COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
Justine Siegal, IBAF Coach / WCBF 2006 -  It is hard to explain to someone who was not there how an eleven day event can change your life. But the WCBF does just that. For eleven days we are a family; focused on the beauty of children and dedicated to their development. As an IBAF coach, I have the opportunity to meet hardworking WCBF staff, generous sponsors, and committed baseball leaders. Co-Founder of the WCBF, Dr. Akiko Agishi, is a hero of mine; her vision of international exchange and friendship through baseball inspires me to become a better coach, leader, and person. Everyday in Hokkaido, I saw the differences that the WCBF made in the lives of the children. While playing baseball, participating children made friends with others from around the world. These children are our future leaders, and with memories of their WCBF friendships, they will lead our world to a better place of peace and
friendship. The eleven days of the WCBF, does not only change the lives of its participants, but also the landscape for global harmony.
 2005 COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
 Greg Kosloff, 2005 WCBF Sub Head Coach
What beautiful country we visited for the 2005 WCBF. Once again the WCBF did a wonderful job in ensuring this year's Fair to one of the best ever. The trip to the mountain top to the children's home took my breath.  Truly one of the most beautiful sights this side of heaven.  Although very hot on most days the weather was perfect for baseball.  The clinics this year were again taught by some of the best coaches in the world.  I feel very honored and thankful to be a member of the IBAF coaching staff.  The opportunity to share baseball and life lessons with children from all over the world gives me so much joy and happiness.  Although I struggled with health issues, this year the Fair was the best medicine I have ever received.  The highlight of my trip was my one on one meeting with the greatest home run king of all time, Mr. Oh. We shared thoughts, laughter and hugs. Mr. Oh is truly a hero of mine.  I thank Mr. Oh, Mr. Aaron, and Dr. Akiko Agishi for having the courage and fortitude 16 years ago to initiate this program to help promote world peace and happiness through baseball. Their continued support along with the tireless efforts of the WCBF Staff has proven that through baseball, all can be achieved. I know that because of the WCBF I'm a much wiser person. Thank you WCBF. May God bless all of you always!
Justine Siegal, 2005 WCBF Coach & Womens Baseball League
The WCBF children are my greatest memories in Maebashi. Although we all spoke different languages, the language of baseball brought us together. With 20 different countries represented, it is amazing to see how much we are all alike rather than different. In the end, the smiles on everyone’s faces, including the children, volunteers, staff, and coaches proved the success of WCBF 2005. This is my favorite picture at the WCBF.

2004 COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
 
George Santiago, 2004 WCBF Head Coach
The 15th anniversary of the World Children’s Baseball Fair was so smooth the week seemed like a couple of days. The planning and execution was conducted excellently and tastefully as always. I would like to thank everyone for their support and dedication to the WCBF, whether it was their 1st year or 15th year of involvement. It takes all of us to make this special event happen and be successful. On behalf of the IBAF coaches, we thank you for a tremendous event. Unfortunately this year’s event had to be divided between three locations and this took away from the close feelings. But we recognize the hard work by all the organizers, staff, sponsors, and volunteers. THANK YOU!!
 
Chris Wilhelm, Canada Chaperon WCBF 2004
Now in its 15th year, the WCBF’s stated goal is to foster global understanding among various cultures through the playing of baseball. The Canadian boys certainly achieved this goal. They slept in a room with 15 Japanese boys, and despite language barriers, strong friendships were formed. Also in their dorm were children from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Indonesia. Nightly games of tag, watching Japanese baseball on television, swimming at the dorm water park, and playing ball together every morning quicklyFall/
eliminated cultural differences and cemented friendships.  Upon leaving, tears were shed and email addresses exchanged.  It is certain that many of these global friendships will last a lifetime.

The five boys also experienced many aspects of Japanese culture.  They slept on the floor on futons in the Japanese style and ate with chopsticks.  They even sampled some authentic Japanese cuisine such as sushi and takoyaki (fried octopus). They attended numerous cultural events including traditional puppetry and drum presentations, a street festival, and an incredible fireworks display.  Special highlights were an afternoon at a Japanese amusement park, and visiting a museum memorializing the 6000 victims of the 1995 earthquake. For Brian, Brady, Jarrod, Tommy and Trevor, it was an experience that will never be forgotten.
 
2003 COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS
George Santiago, 2003 Head Coach
This year's event was well programmed and ran smoothly. I'm sure the coordination of four locations [for the clinics] was not easy. Due to rain on Sunday, August 17, the clinic location had to be changed at the last minute but everything worked out fine. Overall, things ran very well, and everyone seemed happy and content. The meals worked out fine, everyone was happy and no weight loss to report this year. The fields in the past have bee very good, but this year's facilities (the main fields) were excellent. Shimonoseki - very good, Park Ube - very good, Kirara Sports Park (dome) - excellent, Saikyo Stadium - very good (even though we got rained out). The field staff was very cooperative, understanding, fast acting and efficient. The assistant coaches seemed a bit younger this year but for the most part they did a good job with the coaches and the children. The biggest challenge every year is getting the local hosts and chaperones to partake in the daily activities on the baseball field.
The coaches want to thank the whole WCBF staff for their dedication to the children and for making our jobs easier. Without these special people it would be impossible to operate this event at a first class level. THANK YOU!
Angel Bonilla - IBAF Coach for WCBF (1990-2003)
I would like to thank the WCBF and the IBAF for once again giving me the opportunity to be a poart of this year's fair in Yamaguchi. I commend the executive committee and organizers of the WCBF for putting on a highly successful event. I am also thankful to the citizens of Yamaguchi Prefecture for the way they welcomed us and the children into their hearts. Their treatment of us was absolutely first class. They managed to put on a great show, one they can be very proud of.

 Sary Benzvi, WCBF Special Guest
The WCBF 14th event, Yamaguchi Japan, August 2003

The WCBF event in Yamaguchi Japan in August 2003 was a very unique experience for me. I have been to Tokyo and Osaka a few times before, but this was the first time for me to experience western Japan, away from the big city.

I was involved as part of American Airlines, in organizing the first WCBF event at UCLA in Los Angeles, in 1990. I had a chance to meet very special people such as Joe DiMaggio, Mrs. Jackie Robinson, the founders of WCBF, Mr. Sadaharu Oh, Dr. Akiko Agishi, Mr. Hank Aaron and many others. That event was a great success and since then, I remained a very good friend of Dr. Agishi and the WCBF organization.
I participated in the WCBF Yamaguchi event as an observer, in order to understand the challenges facing such an event and try to bring the event to Texas, USA in the summer of 2005. Since my 10 year old son, Elijah, was one of the US players, I had a chance to observe the positive effect this great event had on the children.

I was very impressed with the way the event was organized. From the moment we arrived to the airport in Ube till the moment we left Japan, the kids followed a busy and exciting schedule. Activities were planned in detail and the coaches, chaperons and administrative staff knew their role very well.

After arriving to Yamaguchi, the kids were divided into groups and bungalows. They were given the baseball equipment and uniforms and received an orientation about the facilities, the schedule and life in the camp site.

After an impressive opening ceremony, where each country marched with its flags and local dignitaries addressed the crowed, the first clinic took place.

The IBAF coaches and their local volunteer assistants did a great job working with the kids on basic baseball skills. The field was divided into stations such as pitching, batting, sliding, base running, fielding and more. The groups rotated through the different stations. The Yamaguchi area had the luxury of an indoor baseball dome. Since it rained almost daily, the dome allowed WCBF the flexibility of using indoor or outdoor facilities.

After the morning clinic, the kids went back to the camp site to change and rest. In the afternoon and evening time, the kids had different activities such as a trip to the nearby city (Shimonoseki) to enjoy the beautiful scenery and kids activities, meeting with local kids and local cultural events. Sadaharu Oh, who just won the Japanese Championship as the manager of the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, visited the kids during a morning session and his presence created quite an excitement.

Since parents are not allowed to be with their kids during the event, I had very little interaction with my son. I could sense an adjustment period for the first few days, but later on, the kids made lots of friends from different countries, learned lots of baseball and had lots of fun.

Through the years, I have made many Japanese friends, especially, during the 12 years I lived in Los Angeles. But again, I was very impressed with the people and the culture of Japan, the hospitality and the people's manners and politeness. I was also very impressed with the progress Japanese baseball has made. Baseball is now the number one sport in Japan. During our stay, regional high-school baseball games were televised in prime TV during evening hours.

This is thanks to the grass root efforts by organizations such as WCBF. But the message of WCBF is beyond baseball. It is about cultural interaction and global understanding. It is about kids from different countries communicating, becoming friends and having fun playing baseball. And if one of these kids may become a baseball star one day, I am sure they will remember the opportunity Sadaharu Oh and Akiko Agishi and WCBF gave them in the summer of 2003.

Thank you WCBF.
Sary Benzvi
Dallas, Texas


 Deb Bettencourt - 2003 USA Chaperone
First and foremost, I miss the kids! I have our team picture up on the mantle over my computer at home so I see them every day. I have another picture some else took in a frame in my office at work. It is amazing how they can have such an impact on you in such a short amount of time. When we first met with the IBAF coaching staff, one of them said that there would be times where the kids would drive us crazy (and they did!) but there would be times they would make us laugh (they did that too) and times they would make us cry. The crying came on the last days. When we left Yamaguchi and all the new friends I had made there and then again when I left the kids at the airport. It wasn't an out-in-the-open crying but my heart broke to know that I wouldn't get to see some of these people again. I am happy to say that I have remained in contact with some of the kids and even Kayo, the woman who was the host staff for the Canadian team. It would be a shame to walk away from an experience like that and not come out with new friends.

The trip itself was amazing! Traveling back and forth to Japan with the 5 kids was crazy enough at times but once we all got together and there were all of these kids traveling in this train of buses and on the 2 domestic flights in Japan, it was insane! But the kids were great. That was the first thing everyone wanted to know when I got back. How were the kids? I don't have any children myself but have worked with children for as long as I can remember but its different when you are responsible for them 24/7 for almost 2 weeks! So back to the question...how were the kids? My standard response is "They were 10." Plain and simple. They did what 10 year olds do. They were respectful and courteous for the most part but as kids (and sometimes adults) forget their manners and the rest of the time they were just kids. And I couldn't have asked for any more or less from them. Meals were always fun. Everyone attempted the chopsticks but pretty much ended up using spoons and forks or even their hands. French fries were popular with every meal. Boxed lunches were a little less popular. All of the things people didn't like seemed to get passed down to Ken. He was like our little garbage disposal. I think peanut butter and jelly might have been a little more welcome!

The girls were very popular. Molly and Lauren were by far the favorites of all the boys. Not to mention the television cameras! Everyone wanted to interview the American girls. It finally got to the point where Lauren had gotten tired of saying the same things over and over so together we came up with a new response for her to give. "She wants to be able to come back and volunteer for the WCBF some day." I hope she does get the opportunity to do that someday because it is a wonderful experience. The boys were great with the girls. I guess now a days it is more common to find girls and boys playing baseball together. I had never experienced that when I was their age so I was curious to see how it would all play out. They got along great. Although I think the boys learned their first important lesson about girls...they are usually running late!

The accomodations were nice. Lauren and Molly lucked out and had to room with me! Not sure if they considered that lucky or not. But we had a good time. We got to talk about our families and I got to tell them about all of the opportunities out there for girls to play baseball now. Even the boys found that interesting and were impressed that I spoke at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

The clinics were very well organized and there was enough translation provided so that everyone knew what was going on. The kids had no problem interacting with each other and made friends very easily. I had Chase and Elijah in my group for the clinics and they did well. Our team got to play Lauren and Ken on the final day so that was fun. Molly and Lauren were big hits with the coaches as well. "You're killing me" was a phrase that was always followed by the word MOLLY and Lauren became known as "the surfer girl".

I could go on and on forever. And I probably will in my journal. But the most important thing is that I express my sincere gratitude to the WCBF for giving me this honor. It is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. And my thanks to the kids who helped me created some wonderful memories.

Deb Bettencourt
2003 Chaperone

 Randy and Kazue Tewell - Parents of 2003 USA participant

Our son, Ken (10 years old), just came back from 14th World Children`s Baseball Fair in Yamaguchi, Japan. He spent 10 days in Yamaguchi with 175 children from 18 countries. Ken participated in baseball clinics and cultural activities with local Yamaguchi children. Baseball clinics were held at four different baseball fields in Yamaguchi prefecture, and all the children stayed at a Youth Center in Tokuji Town.

There were five participants from each country, and there were chaperons and a host for each country. The chaperon traveled with the kids from/to US, and a host supported the group as an interpreter in Japan. Both supervised the five children.

It was the first time for Ken to be apart from us, but we were comfortable because the Fair was held in Japan. One of the many things I was concerned about was laundry. Ken never had done laundry at home, so I packed many clothes. But there was no worry. They had volunteer mothers to wash 175 children`s dirty clothes! Ken said that every morning his host collected dirty clothes, and clean clothes came back to him two days later.

The baseball fair was well organized and supported by detailed staff and many volunteers. The facilities were all top notch. Baseball equipment, including bats, gloves, and helmets, were provide to all of the children. They got to bring their equipment home. Ken is really proud of his gear.

The coaches worked well with kids from all over the world and with vastly different levels of baseball experience. To some kids, baseball was new; and for others -- don't be surprised if you see them in the major leagues some day! On the last day, the children got to put it all together and played a series of scrimmage games.

The Fair wasn't only about baseball. The WCBF is also about building
friendship and understanding among cultures from all over the world. Each day the children participated in a cultural exchange after the baseball clinic. Ken really enjoyed these events. One day the children made paper cranes as a symbol of peace. Another day they went to a local aquarium and a fire works display. They also were treated to Japanese traditional Bon dance and drummers.

Ken made many friends from all over the world, including Japan. As he
speaks both English and Japanese, he could communicate with more boys and girls than other participants. We hope Ken will stay in Saturday
Japanese school and value his identity as a Japanese.

We thank WCBF staff, volunteers, and children in Yamaguchi for giving Ken a great experience this summer. This was one of those precious opportunities to allow your child experience the world on their own, and in the process, help them understand that we are all citizens of the world.

- Randy and Kazue Tewell

 
2002 COACH & PARTICIPANT REMARKS

 Global Community Building Through Organized Sport
Darin H. Van Tassell

Organized sport is conventionally thought of as encompassing little more than a leisure activity or a form of entertainment. However, I have long been convinced that an understanding of sport and its potential for impact on society deserves more serious consideration. Because sport is a part of society and interacts with other facets and institutions, sport as a focus of study is a highly complex and pervasive social phenomenon with many interconnected dimensions and expressions. Furthermore, it is important to understand that sport, like other institutions, can be consciously or unconsciously manipulated by individuals, interest groups, classes, as well as government in pursuit of ends which may be limited to the sports realm or which may have larger implications. Such manipulation need not be negative, either.

My recent role as a Head Coach for the International Baseball Association at the 13th Annual World Children’s Baseball Fair (WCBF) held in Wakayama, Japan this summer provides precisely such an example. Alternating annually between Japan and North America, this 12-day event of baseball clinics and contests and cultural infusion brings together over 200 eleven and twelve year-olds from around the globe.

The ability to transcend the various societal cleavages which divide, isolate, and make “foreign” the various peoples of this planet is often seen as the potential paths for a more peaceful and prosperous world. And while the various national governments of the globe often pay more “lip service” than action to such goals, the WCBF as an NGO provides an atmosphere, opportunity and the means for achieving a more perfect union among a diverse people: organized sport. Using the baseball as its vehicle, the WCBF has become one of the world’s most unique forums for providing an incredible sense of increased global understanding, cohesion, and community formation–at least for the eleven and twelve year olds involved. During the clinics, learning the game of baseball is the means by which a “community” is developed for the participants involved, and it is precisely this kind of community which becomes a mechanism for increasing the prospects for peace for an increasingly violent planet. Lingual, cultural, social, and gender barriers are quickly and easily bridged among the children (and chaperones for that matter). And while the bridge may be a temporary one, lasting only the twelve days of the event, the effects of this short-lived community are potentially worthy of a lifetime. Developing a sense of global consciousness plays a critical role in allowing a diverse group of people to focus on those qualities which we share, as opposed to what separates us.

To be sure, the potential organized sport possesses for making a meaningful impact on societal outcomes goes far beyond our conventional understanding of sport. We need not think of sport strictly as entertainment and recreation. This is not to suggest that if the governments of our world would only take a more active role in the promotion of sports, then the very real problems which characterize societies plagued by intolerance, poverty, lack of infrastructure, illiteracy, public health, and debt would somehow become less severe. Problems such as these deserve more intelligent responses. However, sport can play a meaningful role in such areas as the fostering of community, for it creates an environment for interaction by people representative of all sorts of social cleavages. Such interaction and communication is needed in a world were the gaps between these cleavages are great. My experiences with the WCBF remind me that we would be mistaken to underestimate the impact that such psychological rewards can bring.

Darin Van Tassell
Head Coach
International Baseball Federation
2002 WCBF, Wakayama

 Ricky Yamauchi - WCBF 2002 Wakayama Chaperon, USA
The Summer 2002 WCBF event was more than fun. It was not just that it was a feeling of recreation, there was a whole sense of hopefulness in that by all of us being together, we might make the world a better place. There were a lot of funny moments and a lot of amazing displays of athleticism and a lot of new friendships being created. I heartfully enjoyed working with the kids and getting them to smile or see them smile as they learned a new skill, or almost learned a new skill or just smiled because they are children. I think I loved the events not so much because of what the events where, but because the people there were sharing and welcoming.

The dorms were very appropriate in that they weren't very fancy or distracting. This allowed the children to interact with each other instead of them just watching movies, playing video games, or getting into trouble. They would look around for things to do and they found the children from other countries.

The food was very good and well varied. I think it was very helpful that each plate had a picture on it describing the contents. There are some cultures that do not eat certain types of meats and the pictures helped to accomodate them. I enjoyed eating a lot of Japanese food and I had miso soup I believe every morning.

The exchange events were always fun as we got to meet people from Japan and at times got to see them in their everyday lives (school, themepark, shopping). At the grammar school I especially liked when the school students taught everybody to make origami since this is something the children can take back home and show their friends.

The baseball clinics were an amazing experience. I know that sounds a little cliche, but that's the truth. This is where the kids played with each other from different countries as a team. There were so many special moments and growing experiences, not only for the kids, but myself as well. I enjoyed the personalities of the other chaperons, coaches, and hosts/hostesses. Sometimes the kids would get a little discouraged, but then they would later accomplish a new feat and be amazed at their own progress. The kids constantly did things to make you smile.

The coaches were very knowledgeable and focused on fun, safety, and learning. They demonstrated each technique so the kids could understand. With everything they did, one could tell that the coaches were dedicated and loved what they were doing. They were often humourous and were very patient with the kids.

I had so much fun. Meeting, working with, and helping all the people (kids, chaperons, hosts/hostesses, coaches, and staff, and everyone) just made me smile. The only thing I did not like was having to say Good-bye because a lot of people were crying and it was a little sad. I miss everybody because it was such wonderful experience.

Ricky Yamauchi
 VIP GUEST REMARKS
 
CAS PIELAK - WCBF North America President
My experience with the WCBF Summer Week Event was just exceptional, especially with the children. It's such a great thing to have those children coming from around the world. Today when we have so many problems in the world, if we can continue to do this and use baseball to help, not only these children but also those back home will benefit. i know that the children from Canada have shared their wonderful experience through newsletters and pen pal letters.

The real highlight was seeing all the children together and also meeting the WCBF executives and staff who worked together so hard to make the Event Week happen. And naturally the ultimate highlight had to be going to see Sadaharu Oh and watching a ball game in the Fukuoka Dome where he manages the Daiei Hawks. (Home Run News, April 1998)
HARMON KILLEBREW - WCBF North America 1st Vice President
The WCBF Summer Week Event is always a source of joy to me and this year I was delighted at the chance to visit my friend, Sadaharu Oh. The quality of the Fair continues to be absolutely top notch, particularly the level of the IBA coaches instruction in the clinics. The interaction between the children seems to improve year after year and the athletic ability of the kids was awfully good this year. I had the opportunity to talk many times with lots of the children and I thought that their reaction was definitely positive. I'm sure this enriching experience will not stop with them, but will be shared and spread among their friends when they get back home. (Home Run News, April 1998)
HANK AARON - WCBF Founder and Honorary Chairperson
It was a pleasure to once again join with the children from all over the world for the WCBF Summer Week Event. I am always delighted to see their excitement and eagerness to learn how to play baseball and to get to know one another. It is inspirational to watch kids who really cannot speak each other's language communicate quite accurately. Giggles, smiles, hand language and that wonderful enthusiasm that children possess makes this interaction possible.

Also, I was pleased to see that the WCBF Event Week continues to be a first class event. Everything was well organized and planned out... no small task for such a large international group. Of course, this year was special for me in that I was reunited with my dear friend, Sadaharu Oh. This year he was able to get away from his manager's responsibilities to spend some time with the WCBF kids... which I know is an activity very dear to his heart. (Home Run News, April 1998)