This summer “Brewer’s Camp” was on our Bucket List - mostly because my boys love baseball. They both are on teams this summer. One is in Little League and one is in Park & Rec. We are also big Brewer’s fans so this camp seemed like a great fit!
We did not have many expectations except that we hoped they’d have fun playing and learning about a game they love!
Now that the camp is here - we are blown away by the organization and ALL of the benefits that this camp includes!
The first perk were these official Brewer’s Academy baseball uniforms that everyone received on the first day. They wear them every day to camp. The uniforms included pants, jerseys, belts and hats! The Academy is part of the Brewer’s organization so everything that represents the camp has to be approved by the Brewers and the MLB! Each camper also receives 4 tickets to a Brewer’s game.
The camp takes place daily 9-3 in Brookfield at Brookfield Academy. There is also one in West Bend.
However on one special day of the week - the entire camp loads up into buses and heads to spend the entire day at Miller Park!
The kids bring backpacks with waters, lunches and their gloves. They are assigned to a small team on the first day of camp and they stay with their teams for their day at Miller Park.
And… this is the point when this camp becomes priceless! Like for this little kid who managed to sneak in some one-on-one time with Brewer’s pitcher Aaron Wilkerson in the Brewer’s dugout!!
The camp teams traveled to several different stations throughout the day. They got to see some parts of Miller Park that are rarely seen. I felt SO blessed to be the official behind-the-scenes photographer that day!
The campers visited the Media Room where players give news conferences.
Next, they crossed the hall and entered the Brewer’s locker room (known as the Clubhouse). This was such an amazing experience and a very rare treat. The general public tour can see the visiting locker room but these guys saw the actual Brewer’s locker room!
The Clubhouse tour was led by a Brewer’s coach! The Bullpen Catcher Marcus Hanel spoke to the kids like a true coach. He told them they need to be respectful and listen to elders as they talk. (I loved that of course).
Then he told them great stories and little details about the players as he showed them around the locker room. He was charming and captivated the campers.
The kids inspected (but did not touch!) Yeli’s deodorant, Braun’s shoe collection, Wilkerson’s cowboy boots.. and so much more! They saw the couches that the players relax on. They saw little X-boxes and tv’s hidden in a few lockers. We saw their jersey’s hanging in front of each locker in preparation for that night’s game. And they saw the 4 Hall of Famer’s lockers that are permanently sealed with plexiglass. Aaron, Fingers, Molitor and of course Uecker!
Photos are not allowed in the Clubhouse (because duh, it is a locker room!) but I can tell you that these kids will always remember the excitement of visiting that special space! And……
…the excitement of walking down this tunnel! The same tunnel the players use to enter the dugout and be greeted by the tens of thousands of screaming fans.
Which led the little players right to the dugout where they got to inspect the very phones that Counsel uses every game.
Next they got to walk out onto the gravel areas of the field. After a stop at the visitor’s dugout - they headed back to the warning track area…
They spent the next 20 minutes practicing their best homerun-robbing catches against the wall.
Then they headed up into the Bullpen where they got to meet with the great Don August! Don is a former MLB Brewer’s baseball pitcher! He also represented the USA at the olympics where they won a silver medal!
Don shared his expertise as the kids practiced pitching. Cy learned about using seams when you throw a pitch. Don is also one of the Brewer’s Academy coaches.
"I just kept saying to the kids, “Can you believe you’re pitching in the Brewer’s bullpen with a real Brewer coach?? Wow!”
Next the kids headed over to the outfield..
Where they practiced fielding grounders.
After eating lunch, it was time for a special visit from a Brewer’s player! Aaron Wilkerson, a Milwaukee Brewer’s relief pitcher, spoke to the group. He told them about the importance of eating healthy, getting good sleep and taking care of oneself. He also told them about what life is like as a baseball player. He has two kids including a 9 month old baby so that takes up most of his time. He said he loves to golf too when he can find the time.
Each team was able to meet him in the dugout for a team photo. Kids asked him some really funny questions.. they asked about his tattoo (he and his wife got matching ones), if he gets nervous playing in front of so many people (not really…) and one kid asked him if taking photos with kids “stresses him out.” That gave us a good chuckle!
Finally the kids snuck up to the press box to see where all of their favorite news personalities sit.
Travis Shaw happened to be practicing his batting. The campers roared as they watched Travis hit one ball after another right out of the park! Amazing!
Brewers Academy - thank you SO MUCH for this wonderful experience! You really make the kids feel like they are an important part of the Brewer’s organization. It definitely strengthened their love of the game.
Speaking of games - my family went back for a Brewers game the next night and it felt like “home!”