BRADENTON -- Major League Baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen have a plan to help Bradenton children and teens who face the daily misery of living with addicted or co-dependent family members.
They want to bring the Camp Mariposa concept they established through the Moyer Foundation in Seattle a decade ago to Bradenton. New camps are also proposed for South Bend, Ind., and in Philadelphia.
Camp Mariposa offers separate camp experiences for children 9 to 12 and for teens 13 to 15. The two-day, two-night experience is intended to help them feel less isolated, understand addiction, stop blaming themselves and avoid repeating generational patterns of substance abuse.
“We always leave something in the communities where we have lived,” Karen Moyer said Thursday of the camps, referring to her husband’s much-traveled major-league career, and her coming of age in South Bend, where her father, Digger Phelps, was Notre Dame’s head basketball coach.
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“Right now in Bradenton we are interviewing three possible partners to run the camp. We will choose the partner soon and the partner will look at sites,” she said.
The Moyers are hoping someone will either donate a site or make one available at a nominal price.
One of the potential partners the Moyers will be talking to is Manatee Glens, which provides substance abuse and mental health care.
The main reason children are removed from homes is substance or alcohol abuse, said Mary Ruiz, CEO of Manatee Glens.
Manatee Glens treats about 700 adults, many of them parents, with substance abuse problems.
“When you are a child of an alcoholic or addict, you feel very alone with your family’s problems. You feel like you can’t talk about it. You go through all of the trials and tribulations of childhood without anyone you can talk to,” Ruiz said.
Bringing a Camp Mariposa to Bradenton would allow those children to communicate with others, learn coping skills and have fun, she said.
“We aren’t worried that we can’t fill Camp Mariposa up with the kids,” Ruiz said.
To benefit the Bradenton Camp Mariposa, a Celebrity Rock ‘n’ Bowl Charity Bowling Tournament is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday at Bradenton Lanes, 4207 Cortez Road.
“This is entirely for the cause and the kids. It takes support from the community on all different levels,” Karen Moyer said.
The Moyers will take part in the tournament, along with Michael Coe, New York Giants defensive back; John Racener, poker professional from Tampa; Scott Eyre, former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher; and select Bradenton Marauders players.
In addition, Bradenton rock stars We the Kings are scheduled to perform live. Travis Clark said his band tries to use its success in the best way possible, and was drawn to Rock ‘n’ Bowl as a way to help children live “healthy and inspired lives.”
Anyone who would like to watch the celebrities bowl and/or take part in auctions can buy tickets for $100. Tickets for bowling are also available for $1,000 per lane for a team of five.
The Moyers are well known for their philanthropy. They also have established a series of camps to help children deal with grief, called Camp Erin.
The Moyers have eight children, ranging in age from 5 to 20, including two adopted from Guatemala. Most of their children attended IMG Academies.
At age 48, baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer is recovering from Tommy John arm surgery and planning a comeback in 2012. Earlier this year, he signed on with ESPN as a commentator.
In 2008, he helped lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series championship over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Camp Mariposa in Seattle holds five camps a year serving about 120 children, said Cami Keyes, communications manager for Youth East Side Services, which partners with the Moyer Foundation.
“It’s a wonderful antidote to the loneliness these kids go through,” Ruiz said of Camp Mariposa.