MSHS grad went from Junior Giant to program ambassador

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Junior Giants ambassador Andrew Campbell, right, stands with program coordinators Kim and Garren Hanon Thursday evening as the six-week program came to a close. Campbell has been involved with the program since he was eight, and now works for the San Francisco Giants organization by gathering information about what kids are learning in the program.  Photo by Skye Kinkade

Junior Giants Ambassador Andrew Campbell said he loved watching kids smash base hits at the Mount Shasta Youth Sports Park Thursday evening, especially those who had trouble making contact with the baseball when the program started six weeks ago.

“I like that Junior Giants gives an opportunity to kids who might be too discouraged or scared to play Little League, or who might not get much playing time,” said Campbell.

A 2011 graduate of Mount Shasta High School, Campbell has participated in Junior Giants since he was eight years old. This summer, he’s working for the San Francisco Giants organization as an ambassador for the program, which has been a summer staple for Mount Shasta kids since 1994.

“The Mount Shasta Junior Giants League is one of our founding leagues having served the community since the inception of the Junior Giants program,” said Sue Petersen, executive director of the Giants Community Fund. “For nearly 20 years, the Mount Shasta Junior Giants League has assisted more than 100 kids and their families each year, thanks to a community of dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic youth.”

Campbell explained his new job is acting as “the coaches’ coach.”

“I help kids, but as an ambassador, my biggest job is collecting data,” he said.

Over the course of the six week season, he talked with players and parents about what they’re learning.

“Junior Giants is about teaching kids confidence, integrity, leadership and teamwork. Also about healthy eating, drinking water, bully prevention, and reading,” said Campbell.

The Junior Giants season, which wrapped up on Thursday and was followed by a day at AT&T Park on Sunday for those families who chose to go, “isn’t just a second Little League season,” Campbell said. “It’s also for those kids who don’t have the opportunity to play baseball otherwise.”

He described the program as fun and laid back – a time for kids to learn the basics of the game and develop positive characteristics. The program is free, non-competitive and they don’t keep score.

After participating in the program for five years as a child, Campbell said he volunteered his time during his teenage years by helping with the pitching machine and coaching bases.

“It’s an easy and fun way to do some community service,” Campbell said.

His eighth grade year, Campbell was one of 10 players selected for the Harmon and Sue Burns Scholarship through the Giants’ Community Fund. When he accepted his award at AT&T Park, he was chosen to throw out the game’s first pitch.

He used the $2,500 scholarship to attend Sonoma State University. He said he heard about a possible summer job working as an ambassador in his hometown through an email the Giants sent out to past scholarship winners.

His parents and sister encouraged him to apply, and Campbell successfully interviewed for the position at AT&T Park earlier this year.

Campbell also works at Mount Shasta Elementary School helping maintenance supervisor Larry Sassarini.

Campbell thanked Mike Rodriguez, who is responsible for bringing the Junior Giants program to Mount Shasta at its inception in 1994, as well as Garren and Kim Hanon, who are now coordinating the local program.

He also thanked all his Junior Giants coaches over the years for their encouragement and time.