Sports

Wiffle Ball Tournament in Westfield Friday to Benefit Camp for Kids with Cancer

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Money from this week's Wiffle Ball tournament will go to Sister Pat’s Kids Camp.
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Past Wiffle Ball tournament organizers Bryce Dannevig, Andrew Caminiti, Jack Cushing, Michael Birle and Katie Sullivan. Credits: Barbara Sullivan
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Volunteer counselors at Sister Pat's Kids Camp work on the kitchen crew. Credits: Ken Wicks
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WESTFIELD, NJ — The 8th Annual Sister Pat’s Kids Camp Wiffle Ball Tournament will take place place this Friday, May 25, at 3 p.m. at Tamaques Park.

Money from the tournament, which is run by Westfield High School students, will go to Sister Pat’s week-long summer camp in Esopus, NY, where kids suffering from cancer and other blood disorders from New York Presbyterian Hospital go to enjoy summer like any other child. The camp offers a wide range of activities for the kids, including photography, fishing, boating and basketball.

Many of the organizers also volunteer at the camp.

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“My experience at camp has been so rewarding and it’s where some of my favorite memories come from,” Michael Birle, a senior at Westfield High School and one of the organizers, said. “I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to volunteer there, and I know that the kids are grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy themselves for a week every summer.”

The tournament was started by a group of several Westfield families who, upon hearing that the camp was low on funds, decided to do something to help keep it alive. Over the past seven years, the tournament has generated over $70,000 for the camp.

Along with Birle, this year’s tournament is run by Bryce Dannevig, Andrew Caminiti, Jack Cushing and James Birle.

For Michael Birle, his family’s connection to the camp makes the event all the more meaningful.

“My brother and I have been counselors at the camp and my family always comes to the first day at camp where families are welcome to participate in Carnival Night,” he said. “The connection we have to the tournament and the camp is something that keeps me motivated to continue to put so much work into making the tournament as great as possible, so that one week in the summer can somehow be better than the last.”

There will be food and drinks available at the tournament and there will be raffles for prizes, such as a Shaquille O’neal signed basketball. Mitts for Mutts will also be at the event with some of their dogs seeking adoption. Last year, three dogs were adopted at the tournament.

The cost to participate is a $15 or more donation per player.

“As organizers, we hope to not only accomplish the same success as we had last year, but to improve on it,” added organizer Bryce Dannevig. “We hope to raise about $16,500 at this year’s tournament, which is $500 more than last year. Overall our mission is to provide an enjoyable day for all spectators, players, and volunteers while keeping the kids who benefit from Sister Pat’s in our minds.”

To register for the tournament or sign up to volunteer, visit sisterpatskidscamp.org and print out the registration form found under the “Fundraising Events” tab. For more information, contact James Birle at jbirle9@gmail.com.

Daniel Sokolin is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.

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