Friends of Minidoka Raising Funds to Rebuild Baseball Field

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Baseball played a key role in sustaining the 13,000 Nikkei who were incarcerated at Hunt Camp, officially named the Minidoka War Relocation Center, from 1942 to 1945.

Baseball played a key role in sustaining the 13,000 Nikkei who were incarcerated at Hunt Camp, officially named the Minidoka War Relocation Center, from 1942 to 1945.

Friends of Minidoka is partnering with the National Park Service to rebuild a historic baseball field at the World War II Japanese American incarceration site.

The crowdfunding campaign for this project will end on Saturday, May 7.

From October 1942 to August 1945, Minidoka housed over 13,000 incarcerees of Japanese descent, originally from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. Officially designated the Minidoka War Relocation Center, it was locally known as the Hunt Camp.

Many of the residents — youth, adults, male and female — played baseball or softball on one of the 14 fields throughout the camp. For the 120,000 Nikkei (Japanese American citizens and legal resident aliens) incarcerated across the country, baseball and softball helped bring a sense of normalcy into their lives. Baseball served as a glue to bring people together and provided bridges to communities beyond the barbed-wire fences. After the war, many former incarcerees have continued to exclaim, “Baseball saved us.”

Friends of Minidoka and NPS are bringing volunteers together to rebuild one of Minidoka’s fields in a single day. All are invited to Minidoka National Historic Site for the “Field- in-a-Day” on May 28. The day’s events will include building and installing the field structures: backstop, two scoreboards, two player benches and two bleachers; applying field markings; installing bases; installing a wayside interpretive panel and donor plaque; and creating accessibility paths to the field.

To make a donation, search “Minidoka” at the Generosity website, www.generosity.com. As of Wednesday, $1,460 has been raised by 18 people in 30 days.

Every donor has the option to receive recognition and a piece of Field-in-a-Day memorabilia as described online. Your contribution will allow volunteers to preserve this integral element of the Minidoka story, and further the cause of educating the public on the importance of safeguarding American civil liberties.

Friends of Minidoka is also seeking donations of materials for the scoreboard, backstop, benches, and bleachers; used baseballs, bats, gloves, and other equipment for future community use of the field; and World War II-era baseball equipment for educational use at Minidoka National Historic Site.

If you would like to donate materials, sponsor a field element, or sign up as a volunteer on May 28, email Friends of Minidoka at [email protected] or Minidoka National Historic Site at [email protected] You may mail donations to Friends of Minidoka, P.O. Box 1085, Twin Falls, ID 83303. Indicate that donations are for Field-in-a-Day.

Donations will be used to build the baseball field and its supporting structures, and to support both the Field-in-a-Day event and the dedication of the field on June 26. Monies collected beyond the actual reconstruction of the field will be used to maintain the field in the future. The field will be open for use to visitors, school groups, and special events.

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