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JStrong Softball Tournament logo. The logo includes a silhouette of Jadon Robinson from his days of playing baseball.
JStrong Softball Tournament logo. The logo includes a silhouette of Jadon Robinson from his days of playing baseball. - Facebook

YARMOUTH, N.S. – This is a big weekend for the JStrong Fund that helps Yarmouth County youth access sports and recreation opportunities.

The third annual JStrong Softball Tournament opens today, Friday, July 27, and runs to Sunday, July 29.

Twenty-six teams registered to take part in the tournament, with play happening on fields at the Hebron Recreation Complex and the Mariners and Veterans fields in town.

Visit the JStrong Softball Tournament Facebook group page where the weekend’s schedule has been posted and also for updates about the tournament.

The division A, B and C division championship will be played Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on the fields in Hebron. On Friday evening at 9:15 p.m. the JStrong Homerun Derby is back by popular demand and is slated to take place under the lights at Veterans Field.

The money raised through this fundraising tournament weekend supports the JStrong Fund, which, as noted, helps young people by providing funding to help them access sporting activities. Examples of assistance include assisting with player registrations for sporting seasons and skill development opportunities and providing sponsorships to teams and youth sporting events. 

Over $50,000 has been dispersed through the fund in the past two years.

Yarmouth teenager Jadon Robinson always brought a smile to everyone, young and old.
Yarmouth teenager Jadon Robinson always brought a smile to everyone, young and old.

The JStrong Fund was created as a legacy to Yarmouth teenager Jadon Robinson who died in a car accident in November 2015. Jadon had a love of sport and his family and friends want to ensure young people aren’t prevented from taking part in sports due to financial reasons. The logo that's been created for the softball tournament this year includes a silhouette of Jadon from his days of playing baseball.

Steve Berry, a main organizer of this weekend’s softball tournament, says people, businesses and groups continue to be very supportive of the JStrong fundraising initiatives. He says through generous donations from individuals, businesses and groups for the tournament there are lots of prizes to be won that will add to the amount of money that is fundraised. Some examples include: 120 lbs of lobster to be drawn for in 10-pound lots. (Money made from this will be divided up to charities of the winners’ choice).

Other prizes up for grabs include a Mike Piazza signed baseball helmet, a Kareem Hunt signed football helmet, a Darth Vader David Prowse signed mask, a Frank Thomas signed Oakland A’s jerseys, a George Bell signed Blue Jays jersey, a Jason Tatum signed basketball. A Reggie Jackson signed baseball bat and a WWE John Cena replica spinner championship belt.

There have been two Yarmouth Minor Hockey Mariners jackets donated. Other prizes include limited edition Toronto Blue Jays bobble heads, a team-signed Mariners jersey and two hand-crafted Adirondack chairs. And much more. Numerous businesses have provided gift certificates and swag.

Tournament participants and the public will get the chance to try and win prizes by visiting the Hebron Recreation Complex where a Chinese auction will be held that gives people up to 20 chances to win prizes after buying a lot of tickets for $10. Some opportunities to win prizes are separate from the Chinese auction, such as the lobster draw and the new bat draw.

Canadian Tire has also provided organizers with a great deal on a five-burner BBQ that tickets will be sold on.

(Photos of the prizes have been posted on the JStrong Softball Tournament Facebook group page.)

JStrong clothing and other JStrong items will also be sold during the weekend.

At the fields in town the Chris Scott Construction Peewee AA Gateways baseball team will be running a canteen as a fundraiser for their team, which is traveling to New Glasgow for provincials later this summer. If they’re successful at provincials they’ll head to Atlantics in Fredericton.

In a post to the JStrong Softball Tournament Facebook page Marla Robinson-Pyne, Jadon’s sister, gives thanks to everyone who is participating and supporting this event, and to those who helped to organize it.

“A lot of time and effort went into planning this event and I would like to thank those of you who continue to take the time and put in the work to make these things happen. Also, those who come out to support these events and donate, participate and volunteer," she writes.

“I often receive phone calls, emails, Facebook messages and have conversations with many people, most strangers, about what this fund is about and how it has helped not just the youth, but so many people,” she says. “Parents who struggle financially to send their kids to play with their peers, adults who are frustrated to be involved in sports and see some kids left behind, others grieving a loss of their own who see inspiration, those who never met Jadon and are amazed one person could do so much. Those who knew and loved Jadon who like to come together in a day that is to have fun and remember the fun times they shared. Jadon certainly was always down for a good time and good friends.”

“I’d ask people to remember why we are here, why we are doing this,” she included at the end of her post. “Please enjoy your day, you are the one making the difference. Please respect one another and the umpires and all the volunteers who are all there to lend a hand because this weekend is special to everyone. Have fun, enjoy, good luck to those playing and remember if Jadon has shown the world anything, it’s that kindness matters.”

In June another major annual fundraiser took place – that being the annual JStrong golf tournament, which raised $31,005 for the fund.

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