Category Archives: Press Release

Baseball Matters, but Character MATTERS More!

The FirstSwing Foundation believes that baseball is more than just a game. Baseball is a means to teach many of the life lessons that will empower a youngster to become a good solid and productive citizen, and hopefully, a loving spouse and caring parent. While playing such a simple game, one learns the important lessons of life, and these will help build strong character and physical strength. It is imperative that all youngsters be exposed to decision-making and problem solving situations, and become aware of the value of hard work, perseverance, integrity, poise, conditioning, proper diet, etal. Baseball provides all of these in a fun and educational environment that is competitive and based on meritocracy.

FirstSwing has created and developed a set of baseball cards entitled Characters. Each card depicts a famous ball player or person who made their mark involved in the game. Some are true paragons of real grit and iconic character while others are just zany “characters” who helped make the game fun while adding to the historical lore/ value of the game. These trading cards will be distributed to youngsters who attend FirstSwing camps and activities as a gift.   It is imperative that we continually expose our next generations to the positive role models and focus on the “life lessons” that are learned while playing the game!

We are looking for 25-30 sponsors to help us produce the cards. The sponsor’s name and/or logo will be on their respective card(s). The cost is $500.00 per card or two cards for $750.00. Each sponsor will receive 100 cards for their own distribution. The remainder of the cards will be handed out at FirstSwing Camps and other activities. These will be on hard stock and unique in design.

FirstSwing has worked hard the past number of years to encourage youngsters to play sports, eat properly, study and work diligently, and to be involved in community service. The Character Cards will be a “collectible” reminder that there is more to life than just playing the game!!!

Hope you will join our team! GAGPTH!

FirstSwing Foundation Press Release

Bong Chay (Baseball) in Vietnam 2015: FirstSwing Returns for the Sixth Time!

Medina, WA, January 8, 2015:

The FirstSwing Foundation, a federal 501c3 and Washington state non-profit, and its Executive Director Phil Rognier, will be taking a contingent of 40 to Hanoi, Vietnam this Spring from April 4th -11th. This is the sixth year that Coach Phil and the Foundation has spent time developing their “Baseball Connect” program exposing and teaching the game of baseball to Vietnamese and other SE Asian youngsters. FirstSwing will provide interactive Coaching Clinics(“training the trainers”), youth camps(ages 4-18), school presentations(elementary through the university level), public baseball exhibitions, a U.S. Embassy media conference, and a number of other educational activities. This venture will also include the building of a playground for an autistic school and visits to the countryside to help needy families. Coach Phil will teach at the University of Hanoi and speak to local gatherings explaining not just the game of baseball but its value as a viable environment for teaching many of “life’s little lessons”. FirstSwing promotes the notion that sport(s) is a process, not an end in itself, and teaches its importance in developing productive citizens with critical thinking skills, a strong work ethic, nutritional/conditioning knowledge, and the discipline to become a loving spouse and caring parent!

This year, the contingent will visit local public, private, and special education schools, to include the UNIS school in Hanoi. Included will be a “Pitch, Hit, and Run” competition open to all youngsters, a workshop for parents/adults teaching the value of sports and physical conditioning, and provide logistical support to a new English speaking school. The FirstSwing “team” includes 23 local youngsters who will help build the playground, instruct at the camps, visit local schools, and for a few days, stay at sponsored homes. The youth all have various skill sets(Boy Scouts, cooking, athletics, MoonJar, etc) that they will share with local contemporaries. Many of the adults have unique talents that will be utilized to help develop and improve educational opportunities in Hanoi.

FirstSwing will provide fundamental Coaching and Player handbooks(translated into Vietnamese) as well as volumes of equipment to include balls, bats, gloves, caps, uniforms, and other necessary items to perpetuate the teaching and development of the initial baseball program that began in 2009. Microsoft, Fluke(Danaher), Klouter Baseball, and a number of local Vietnamese businesses have contributed generously to assist “Baseball Connect”. The University of Hanoi, and the Hanoi Youth Baseball Club(Coach Tom Treutler) will continue to oversee training of coaches and players. An immediate result of the project will be a 2015 US-VN exchange with a team of youngsters from Hanoi coming to Seattle in August to participate in FirstSwing camps, visit Microsoft and Boeing, play in a tourney, and to see the Mariners and Aqua Sox play!

Bong Chay (Baseball) is no longer just a “comic book sport” in Vietnam, but a newly welcomed healthy and outside team activity. Despite the lack of open fields and without deep financial pockets, the Great American Pastime is taking roots and the Vietnamese youth teams already are competing at the international level. Most importantly, the FirstSwing “Baseball Connect” program is working hard to improve relations with Vietnam and trying to spread “Baseball Diplomacy” to all corners of the world! Baseball is more than a game. GAGPTH!! KWTP!!

“Baseball may not change the world, BUT it may change a youngster’s life!”

The FirstSwing Foundation PLAYS BASEBALL(Bong Chay) in Viet Nam!!

Medina, WA, February 24, 2013: The FirstSwing Foundation, a 501c3/Washington state non-profit, is proud to announce that it’s 2013 Hanoi IV Team has just returned from ten days in Hanoi, Vietnam. This was the fourth year that FirstSwing had sent a team of coaches, parents, and players to Vietnam as part of their “Baseball Connect” program in conjunction with Microsoft. This program began in 2008 to help develop Vietnamese youngsters’ baseball skills, teach valuable “life lessons”, and to further positive interaction between the U.S. and SE Asian countries. As in past years the “Baseball Connect” team conducted baseball/softball clinics/camps in Hanoi, visited public and private schools, held a “Pitch Hit, and Run” competition, and worked with youth teams to improve their basic mechanics and team skill sets. FirstSwing has an extensive youth baseball/softball program that provides camps, clinics, tournaments, and “special day” activities year round in the Puget Sound area. It has also travelled to Portugal, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Kuala Lumpur, Cambodia, California, Oregon, and other U.S. states to present its unique approach to teach youngsters not just the game but most importantly the “life’s little lessons” inherent in our national pastime! FirstSwing will soon be travelling to China and Israel to work with youngsters, schools, and teams as part of the Baseball Connect” international program.

The Executive Director of FirstSwing, Phil Rognier, has been involved in baseball since 1947 and has created a FUN and exciting educational curricula that teaches the fundamentals and mechanics of the game(s) as well as incorporating the essence of being an active productive citizen. The mission of the foundation is to teach youngsters the proper way to throw, hit, field, run, and condition, as well as the concepts of decision-making, problem-solving, responsibility/accountability, work ethic, manners(yes manners!), integrity, courage, and all the other important traits of a solid citizen, future spouse and parent! Youth baseball is a process, not an end in itself!!

The credo of FirstSwing is GAGPTH!…or Get a Good Pitch to Hit! In baseball and life, it is necessary to discern between a good solid opportunity and one not so good, and THEN work very hard, aim high, and persevere to achieve these goals! Hopefully, in some small way, a baseball/softball program in Viet Nam will not just be a good faith venture between two countries but will develop responsible citizens who will create their future rather than just trying to predict it! “PLAY and LEARN”, what a concept!!! GAGPTH!

“Baseball cannot change the world, BUT it may change a youngster’s life!”