ST. PETERS, Mo. — If summer had a soundtrack, it might just be kids playing baseball.
But some kids can't hear that soundtrack.
That's why we've come to the Mike Bush Fantasy Baseball Camp for the deaf and hard of hearing. It gives kids who spend the rest of the year trying to fit in, a chance to stand out.
"When they come here, they get to see other kids who are just like them," explained Camp Director Cari Dimovitz.
Alex Baxin, 7, is in his second year here and he can't stop talking about the triple he hit on the second day of this year's session.
"And I hit it and it went almost into the grass!" he said enthusiastically. "And I got to third base!"
"They're learning baseball," said Dimovitz. "We teach them base running, we teach them sliding, we teach them hitting."
But the camp isn't just about runs, hits and errors. It's also about confidence, compassion and friendship.
Ella Ferguson, 16, said being a little different in school isn't always easy.
"There's no kids that have hearing aids just like me," she said. "And so when I come here, I am not different. I am just like everybody else."
We first met her in 2010 when she was a first-year camper.
"Oh, the first day she was so scared and she was crying," her former counselor David Browning said.
But as baseball-lovers know, if you build it they will come. Ella said the camp helped build confidence and she kept coming back. Now, she's a volunteer counselor.
"I wanted to give other kids the experience that the other volunteers when I was growing up gave me," she said.
"And I'm just really proud of her," added Browning.
This camp actually started as a way to give one hearing impaired 8-year-old boy a chance to play baseball. Twenty-nine years later, more than 1,500 kids have been able to play ball, including Ella's brother Eli.
For the Ferguson family, camp helped them understand they weren't facing these challenges alone.
"I mean, it helped me," said Ella and Eli's mom Amy Ferguson. " Because all of a sudden you're talking with other parents and you're seeing older kids and you're like 'OK, It's going to be alright.'"
It may only last a week but it stays with these kids and their parents much longer.
"I feel very blessed that I get to be here to witness it," Amy Ferguson said.
Helping kids just be kids. At the Fantasy Baseball Camp, this is what opportunity and fellowship sound like.