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Kids of Summer started as a six week summer baseball clinic in the Summer of 2002 in Riverside Park on two small baseball fields near the Boat Basin on West 79th Street. The goal was to offer NYC children and families access to quality, fun, affordable and local baseball instruction in the summer months. The program was created by director Mike Handell who was eighteen years old at the time and a life long Upper West Side resident who understood the impact sports have on children. Mike aimed for Kids of Summer to serve as an extension of the great community sports programs he grew up playing in. After promoting the summer program to countless schools around the Upper West Side by handing out flyers at school dismissal, a total of seven campers enrolled the first summer. Even with a small enrollment, that first summer showed Mike that that he enjoyed passing on knowledge about the game and seeing his campers have fun and improve.

 

Mike came back to Riverside Park’s Boat Basin every year through college to hold the Kids of Summer baseball camp and the program expanded thanks to some wonderful and loyal families in the neighborhood. In 2006 Mike moved the camp to a new home in Riverside Park at 104th Street where it has been held ever since on four beautiful turf fields. Mike’s brother Brian graduated from college and took on a leadership role both helping with the business and coaching campers, which he is passionate and skilled at. Kids of Summer became a true family business. In 2008 Mike left his job in the television industry and decided to make Kids of Summer a year round program offering after school classes, weekend training clinics, school break camps and more. In 2011 he added a basketball portion to the Kids of Summer sports offerings and in 2013 a travel baseball component.

 

Now, thanks to the loyalty and support of our great Kids of Summer families, the wonderful community, and the dedicated and amazing coaches that work with the campers, Kids of Summer trains over 1,000 children each year in both baseball and basketball. And Mike and Brian still have as much fun as they did their first summer seeing kids develop a love for sports, improve and have fun!