Tiburon teen seeks to bring Cuban baseball team to Marin

Armando Benavides, left, and Jake Nordstrom became “béisbol” amigos this summer in Matanzas, Cuba. (Photo by Candace Nordstrom) 2017

Armando Benavides, left, and Jake Nordstrom became “béisbol” amigos this summer in Matanzas, Cuba. (Photo by Candace Nordstrom) 2017

By Gil Zeimer, Marin Independent Journal

Nov 3, Tiburon, California – Tiburon teen Jake Nordstrom loves baseball, and he was so inspired after a recent trip to Cuba that he launched an Eagle Scout project with a GoFundMe campaign. His high-reaching goal: bring a high school baseball team and its coaches to the Bay Area by June 2018.

“Over the summer, I took a 10-day trip to Cuba with my family and two classmates,” said Nordstrom, 16, a junior at Redwood High School. “This trip began as a community project but it changed my life. The lessons I learned will stay with me forever.

“We played with a baseball team from New Orleans against Cuban teenagers. Then I had the idea that it would be very cool to host a few high school Cuban baseball players here in Tiburon next year.”

Nordstrom was shocked by the Cubans’ rudimentary equipment, such as baseballs made from electrical tape. His teammates donated their jerseys to their new Cuban “béisbol” amigos after the last game and the Cubans reciprocated.

After arriving home, Nordstrom’s Eagle Scout project became clear. He’s intertwining baseball, community service and volunteerism with a fundraising campaign that includes:

• Raising approximately $27,000 by next June to support his humanitarian cause, share his beautiful area and culture with the Cuban team.

• Receiving donations of equipment, gear and apparel that the Cuban players can bring home.

• Arranging for local families to sponsor each boy on the team in their homes for seven to 10 days.

• Teaching the Cubans how to maintain a baseball field by volunteering to restore a local field. (If you know of a field that needs some attention, he’s looking for suggestions.)

• Taking Cubans to a Giants game, Alcatraz, a bus tour and more.

• Creating a separate fundraiser with a sponsor such as the San Francisco Giants, and a silent auction.

“Really, any amount, action, or connection will help me tremendously,” Nordstrom said. To donate, visit gofundme.com/jake-nordstrom-eagle-scout-project.

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