Cubacan is a non-profit grassroots organization based in Ontario, Canada that supports Cuban children and youth by collecting sports equipment in Canada and sending it to Cuba for distribution through the Ministry of Sport to the most needy areas.
Our goal is very simple, to find equipment that can be put to use by the kids in Cuba. In thousands of Canadian households there is a glove or a ball or a bat sitting in a closet collecting dust. We want to get those items and give to someone who will bring it to life.
For the past three years our Cubacan 2020 Project has helped Cuba produce over 15,000 quality baseball bats for their National Series. It is time that we move on to new challenges. (See our Hall of Fame page for more information).
For 2019 our Project “Cubacan Kids” will focus on sports of all kinds with an emphasis on baseball/softball, but instead of adults, our efforts will be to help equip Cuban children.
While baseball and softball remain, the most popular sports in Cuba, children participate in all kinds of sporting activities. The challenge for Cuba is to supply kids at all levels and in every part of the country, with the equipment they need. These needs are very simple, a bat, a ball, a glove, a soccer ball, a basketball, etc.
In December 2018, Nora and I visited Puerto Esperanza and watched a game between 11 and 12 year old boys. During our trip we watched 6 different baseball games and by far this was the most entertaining. To say that these kids were having fun would be a great understatement. The quality of play was excellent. The kids knew what they were doing. The kids were healthy, happy and well coached.
But, as with so much in Cuba, the tools of the game were lacking. Here are some examples: Baseball gloves were shared. As one team left the field the gloves remained at the base for the next team to use. They had 3 bats between them. One of which had no end on the barrel. They were lucky to have a full set of catcher’s equipment. One size fit’s all?
A few kids wore cleats, and a few played barefoot. I’m sure they all had runners, but some preferred bare feet. When the baseball left the field of play, so did a player to retrieve the ball, so the play could continue.
One batting helmet between both teams. When one of the smaller kids came to the plate, a player would lend him their baseball cap so the helmet would stay on his head.
I don’t know if any of these kids were going to be future stars, but I can say for sure they will be great members of their community.