Youth clinics return to Minnesota communities

After a season off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, communities across Twins Territory again hosted thousands of kids in learning fundamental baseball and softball skills.

A partnership between Great River Energy and the Minnesota Twins brought free clinic programs across the Upper Midwest for boys and girls ages 6-12 throughout the summer. Now in its 60th year, Play Ball! Minnesota youth clinics connect knowledgeable coaches with kids to help them learn skills like hitting, throwing and defense in a fun, safe and encouraging environment.

Kids who attended the Play Ball! Minnesota youth clinic hosted by Runestone Electric Association in Alexandria, Minnesota, gather for a group high-five.

This year’s 30 clinics were held across Twins Territory, which largely overlaps with the service areas of Great River Energy’s 28 member-owner cooperatives, from June to August. They were offered in cities as large as Grand Forks, North Dakota, as well as close-knit communities such as Argyle, Mora and Warroad.

Electric cooperatives were each built by their respective communities, which is why they still take a vested interest in the sustainable development and overall success of the areas they serve. Great River Energy seeks partnership opportunities like the Play Ball! Minnesota youth clinics as a way to bring those communities together.

“The clinics are a great way for us to connect with young families,” said Peggy Johnson, community relations director for Dakota Electric Association, which hosted a clinic in Farmington this year. “It’s a way for us to support future leaders, too — participants learn baseball skills along with a smattering of life lessons from seasoned coaches. We had a great partnership with Farmington Community Education and the Farmington Baseball Association for our event.”

Three other Great River Energy member-owner cooperatives hosted clinics this season: Brown County Rural Electric Association (Sleepy Eye), Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association (Park Rapids) and Runestone Electric Association (Alexandria).