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Nats Academy welcomes Obama for visit

@JamalCollier
May 23, 2019

NEW YORK -- The school year is coming to a close in the D.C. area, and as the scholar athletes at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy took a chance Wednesday to enjoy the end of it, they were surprised by a special guest visitor: President Barack Obama. President Obama not

NEW YORK -- The school year is coming to a close in the D.C. area, and as the scholar athletes at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy took a chance Wednesday to enjoy the end of it, they were surprised by a special guest visitor: President Barack Obama.

President Obama not only got a first-hand look at the Nats Academy, he also actively participated in a few activities -- tossing around a football, taking a few left-handed swings in the batter’s box and delivering an encouraging speech to the Nats scholar-athletes. The excitement on the children’s faces was visible as they gathered around with wide smiles to welcome the 44th U.S. President into their games, including a scrimmage between the HUSTLE baseball and softball programs.

“When I see what you guys are doing, I think everybody here, when you guys work hard, work hard in school, listen to your coaches, you guys are going to do great things,” President Obama told the students. “So I’m going to be on the lookout for you, because I think you’re going to do something important. You guys are going to make a real difference.”

The Nationals Youth Academy aligns with one of the core goals for President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, who launched the public healthy campaign “Lets Move!” aimed to reduce childhood obesity and promote healthy living. On Wednesday, he even visited the weekly farmer’s market at the Academy to check out the affordable produce available to families in the neighborhood.

The Academy uses baseball, softball and numerous after-school programs to help achieve their goals of fostering character development, academic achievement and improved health among underserved youth in D.C.

“Great to get out there and take a few cuts at the plate yesterday -- I had a blast with all these extraordinary young people,” President Obama wrote in a tweet. “Thanks for letting me drop in and thanks to the Nationals Youth Academy for the outstanding work you do to support youth in DC.”

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.