03/09/2021 10:33 am
For those of you who do not know, Beyer Stadium was home to the Rockford Peaches women’s baseball team that played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1943 to 1954. If you have yet to do so, watch A League of Their Own which chronicles the ups and downs of their first year as a team.
The International Women’s Baseball Center (IWBC) is heading a project to build the International Women’s Baseball Center at the field. The Center’s mission statement says that “education is the cornerstone of our mission to protect, preserve, and promote all aspects of women’s baseball, both on and off the field.” Their goal is to “inspire the next generation of players by helping them realize their dreams not only of participating in the sport but also of passing on all they will learn and achieve for generations to come.”
In following this statement, the IWBC is planning on incorporating education and active participation in baseball into the center facility. This will include a women’s baseball museum next to the field and an activity center across the street from the field that will house batting cages, pitching cages, and other amenities that the community will have access to. It is the IWBCs hope that with these new buildings, the sport of baseball will continue to be an important part of the Rockford identity.
Recently, a RHET 351 class worked on a Community-Based Learning project to conduct research on the community and develop a plan for the IWBC to build connections with the neighborhood around Beyer Stadium. The class looked into the demographics, community partners, resources, and other activity centers within the area. In addition to providing the research, they also developed materials including brochures, an infographic, and fundraising information that will be given to the people living within the Blackhawk Community to help spread awareness about the new center. These materials also include a survey developed by the students that will be administered to the Boys and Girls Clubs within the community to gain a sense of what the children want to see at a new center and to provide some data on what the kids in the Rockford area know about Beyer Stadium. This was an exciting collaboration for Rockford University and the IWBC to engage in, as it helped the students learn about the community alongside the IWBC and act as consultants for the organization.
If you are interested in being involved in the IWBCs plans in the Blackhawk community or learning more about their endeavors, please contact JACCE@rockford.edu for more information.
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