Young at heart

Former Orioles outfielder Mike Young is moving back to Baltimore, and he's bringing one of his charitable endeavors with him.

Young is pretty busy these days. He runs "Genesis Fitness Concepts" and is partners with friend Walt McCreary in a foundation called "Motivating Our Kids."

If he can still play left field, I think he should report to Sarasota next spring.

I'll let Young explain "Motivating Our Kids," currently based in Centreville but moving forward to the Baltimore area:

"It's designed to help kids in areas that are disadvantaged. We talk to kids and give them incentive, motivate them and help them to understand that there are other things outside of what they're dealing with now. It often stems from the fact that their support base might not be as it is in other areas. We go into these areas and talk to kids and give them hope.

"A lot of them have never seen a baseball game. A lot of them have never been able to meet a pro player and get an autograph. We want to give them an opportunity to come to a game, to meet some of the Orioles and Ravens, and we've been very passionate about this because we've always dealt with kids throughout our lives. When I played here I'd do a lot of work with the Special Olympics, during and after the season. And Walt also has been involved in Special Olympics.

"We encourage parents go out with their kids and exercise. We want these kids to know, 'Hey, I can be a doctor, I can be a baseball player, I can get a good education if I apply myself.' That's part of what we do, help them apply themselves and nurture them. We know that many problems stem from the fact that there are a lot of single parents and it's been very difficult for them. We're going to bring what we do to these areas and help lighten the load."

Young and McCreary are hosting an event on Oct. 5 at Annie's Paramount Steak and Seafood House in Kent Narrows to raise money for their foundation, which would allow them to support "50-plus kids and their families around the holiday season, give them a good dinner and presents," Young said.

Many former and current athletes will be in attendance, including Boog Powell, Don Buford, Gaylord Perry, Rick Dempsey, Rod Langway, Mike Flanagan, Al Bumbry, Brady Anderson, Sanders Shriver, Ed Simmons, Dan Ford, Chris Hoiles, Matt Birk, Ken Singleton, John "T-Bone" Shelby, Larry Sheets, John Stefero and David Hale. Several items will be auctioned, including stuff from Cal Ripken and Brooks Robinson, and there also will be several raffles and an impressive menu (steak and lobster always get my attention.)

Tickets are $175. You can call 443-716-8007 or go to www.motivatingourkids.com.

Genesis Fitness Concepts is based in California, but Young is bringing it with him to Maryland.

"We work with a lot of kids, getting them off the couch," he said. "They play all those video games, and we want to get them motivated to go outside. I know times have changed. We live in an age now where I can talk to you on a cell phone and send and receive text messages and e-mails. Things change. I know that. But man, you couldn't keep me in the house when I was a kid. I always wanted to do something. I'm the same way now.

"Kids need to understand that exercise and nutrition are very important. And don't blame it all on the children. Put some of the blame on the parents. But that's due to a lot of them not being educated about these things. They don't know what to choose when they go to the grocery store."

So why is Young moving back to this state?

"So many people were twisting my arm and saying, 'Michael, you need to be in Maryland, there's a lot for you to do here.' I'll fly back to California after the event and come back here to relocate. I have several people helping me look for a place.

"The only fear I have is, winter time and I don't like each other. I don't like the cold, don't like the snow. I lived in Cockeysville when I played for the Orioles, and less than a week after the season was over, I'd get back on a plane to California. I didn't want to get caught in the snow."

The two blizzards last winter didn't do much to change his opinion, but I assured him that the odds of it happening again were slim. I actually know nothing about the weather and I've never blogged for the Farmers' Almanac, but it sounded good.

You can learn more about Genesis Fitness Concepts right here.

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