BOSTON (CBS) – It was a summer camp surprise like no other when Big Papi visited Camp Harbor View, inspiring and encouraging the young people there.
The camp works with at-risk kids from Boston’s inner-city neighborhoods. The message David Ortiz brought was perfect.
The kids roared their welcome for the former Red Sox slugger. They had no idea he would visit the camp on Long Island in Boston Harbor Thursday.
“I was so excited! Oh my God. I couldn’t believe it,” says camper Elesber Tejeda.
For about an hour Ortiz spoke to the young people about his life and theirs. “You’ve got to believe in yourself,” he said.
He also talked about what works. “You’ve got to listen to your parents, you’ve got to study.” And avoid trouble. “Doing the right thing is the right thing to do. So there’s always a choice. There’s always a decision you need to make,” he told the campers.
The young people soaked it up. “I want to be a lawyer when I grow up, and he was saying I have to focus,” says camper Lael Watson.
“To listen to your parents and never give them attitude,” is what camper Tyrell Hendren remembered.
“He said that when he was little there were other kids that were better than him. He just kept trying, working hard,” added camper Omarion Otto.
“He was telling them that they matter, and encouraging them to recognize they can do anything they want to do and be anything they want to be. I feel like it was a priceless message for our kids,” says Camp Harbor View Executive Director Lisa Fortenberry.
It wasn’t all serious. Big Papi even made a prediction about the upcoming Sox-Yankees series. “We’re going to crush the Yankees!” says the former Red Sox designated hitter.
Camp Harbor View hosts 900 young people during the summer with plenty of fun, learning and leadership.