International Sports Ambassadors
How would you like to spend 2 weeks on a baseball trip in Japan, playing and teaching baseball, all at no cost to you? This may be possible for you this summer with the ISA sponsorship program. International Sports Ambassadors (ISA), working in cooperation with several American military bases in Japan, will take a team of high school age baseball players on a baseball tour of Japan in the summer of 2016. You could be a part of that team. The team will be composed of high school athletes ages 14 to 17, who are incoming freshmen through seniors. The trip will be an exciting opportunity to combine many aspects of baseball into an ideal trip. There are 3 major elements of the trip:
Baseball is the national sport in Japan, and they play with great intensity. The high school teams play 11 months a year, and are very technically proficient. This will provide some very challenging games for our team. The trip will also give athletes and family members traveling with them a great international experience. It will be a great opportunity for building relationships between Japanese and American high school players who can carry these relationships through the rest of their lives. The relationships built through international exchange and travel programs have often built lifelong relationships and provided further travel opportunities.
Travel: We will begin with a training camp in San Diego for 2 days. This will allow us to issue uniforms, practice a couple times, and sightsee in San Diego. We will then travel to Japan together from San Diego. Our travel agency may be able to book your ticket as a 3 leg ticket: your home to San Diego, then San Diego to Tokyo, then Osaka to your home. While in Japan each player or family member will have a Japan Rail Pass for the last 7 days, allowing travel on all Japan Rail trains throughout the country, including the “Shinkansen” – the “bullet train”. The rail system in Japan is well developed, sophisticated, and efficient, while the road system is not. The Shinkansen travels through the countryside and the mountains in long tunnels at speeds in excess of 140 mph, making it the fastest way to travel between any two cities. It is usually faster than flying! All seats on the Shinkansen are like business class on an airplane – plenty of leg-room! We will also travel by bus in some of the base areas for local games and some touring.
Lodging: We will stay on the 3 military bases where we are playing and in some local hotels. Base accommodations are spacious and nice, and usually have high speed internet. The local hotels are smaller, but will give you the flavor of Japanese culture.
Meals: Some meals will be included in the cost of the trip (some breakfasts at hotels and some team dinners), but most meals will be at your discretion. We will have designated eating times and areas, but you will have flexibility in most cases on what and where you eat. Each traveler will bring enough cash to cover these expenses. Your food money can be included in the sponsorship money you collect from local sponsors and issues as we travel.
Qualifications: Athletes are being sought from all regions of the US. There are several requirements to be a member of this team representing the U.S. in Japan.
Cost & Requirements: The cost will be approximately $4,800 per player to cover all expenses (excluding airfare): 1 week JR Pass, lodging (double occupancy), uniforms & clothing, embroidered baseball bag, fees, meals, tours and sight-seeing, and the post trip photo book and DVD. This is the approximate cost for all team members traveling. Each player will need to provide their own glove, helmet, and bats.
Family members are welcome and encouraged to join their players on the trip. Family members will travel with the team for approximately $500 less than the team members. Family members will be issued an embroidered polo shirt as a part of the group for representing the team in some areas. We also can use family members in some roles such as team doctor/nurse/trainer, book keeper (game stats), and assistant coaches. In some of these roles more uniform items may be issued.
All persons traveling will also need to have a current passport. Some of the items in the travel will be billed and covered for the entire group, and some items (some of the food and entertainment) will be left to each individual to pay for as we travel. ISA will give each player and family member an approximate total amount of money recommended to carry while traveling. There are locations on each base to exchange currency while in Japan as well as in the airport on arrival.
Sponsorships: Because we are partnering with US military bases and serving our military personnel serving in Japan, you may be able to get financial sponsorships from local businesses to help defray some or even all of the costs of the trip. Businesses with military interests and business owners with military backgrounds may be particularly interested in sponsoring you for the trip. If you find just 10 sponsoring businesses who will contribute $500, your trip will be paid for! This is a very small amount for a business to provide – many would be willing to help. With any sponsor donation toward your trip of $500 or more, ISA will provide 8 x 10 picture of the team in Japan thanking them specifically by name for their help in serving our military personnel deployed to Japan. Your player can then frame this picture appropriately and present it to their sponsors when they return. Sponsorship letters and materials will be emailed to any player requesting them. Sponsorships also be tax deductable for the businesses sponsoring you.
The following schedule will be updated as the plans develop, but it will look similar to this:
Background & Experience: Todd was a 3 sport athlete through high school and college, and won an NCAA Collegiate National Championship in track & field in 1984. He was recently inducted into the St. Olaf College Athletic Hall of Fame. He has been coaching many sports for over 25 years, as well as working as an athletic director in San Diego, California. He has traveled extensively to Japan spending over a year of total time in the country on 13 different trips. He has now started this program (ISA) to give student athletes the opportunity to travel abroad within the context of the sport they love, and serve others while doing so.
He also has experience working with the military. Todd was an officer in the Marine Corps for 9 years, with over 1000 hours of flight time in the F-18. He has run air shows at several military bases, including MCAS Iwakuni, Japan for the past 10 years. Todd has led groups of athletes and young men in many settings. As an officer in the Marine Corps he was in command of over 300 Marines for several years in his jobs running airfields. Since then Todd has led many young men and women teaching and coaching athletes from junior high through high school for over 15 years.
Please contact Todd in San Diego, California at the email address, mailing address, or phone listed below to indicate your interest in the trip. The detailed description as well as a trip application with specific costs and fund-raising & sponsorship information will be emailed to you.
International Sports Ambassadors