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How I YPC: Raygun & the Miracle League

Young Professionals Connection Miracle Park and Raygun

Here's a peek at what YPC was up to this past week:

YPC Miracle LeagueVolunteer event at the Miracle League

There’s nothing like a baseball game on a Saturday. And there’s nothing quite as special as the games that go on at the Miracle League. YPC joined up with the Miracle League last Saturday; about 36 YPs came out to the ballpark to be buddies with children with mental and physical disabilities. Buddies help the players participate in the games: they run the bases with them (or wheel them around in some cases), help them bat, retrieve the ball so they can throw it, and, most importantly, make sure they're having fun.

I went out for the afternoon shift. I’ll admit: I had some misgivings. It’s always tough to give up precious downtime on the weekend and I wasn’t sure how good I would be at interacting with the kids. Plus, I’m terrible at anything involving eye-hand coordination. But once I got there, all my worries disappeared.

The great people who run the Miracle League were very patient with us — most of the volunteers had never worked with the League before — and excited to see us; but not nearly as eager as the kids! It was such a great time to see the huge smiles on the players’ faces as they ran the bases or threw a ball in.  They may have their difficulties, but they still get exuberant over a game of ball, just like any other kid. Their spirit is definitely contagious; the parents and friends in the stands cheered louder than a lot of crowds I’ve seen at an I-Cubs game! Plus, I met some of the volunteers and had a great time getting to know them.

I would encourage anybody interested in the Miracle League to try it out. In the end, it’s only a few hours on a Saturday and you’ll leave knowing you helped make somebody’s day. If baseball isn’t your thing, YPC offers volunteer opportunities with different organizations around Greater Des Moines (DSM) at least once a month. Be sure to check them out on the events page! 

Alyssa Cashman                         

Morning Meetup

Another YPC Morning Meetup is in the books. This month’s event featured a local success story that has grown to national level — Raygun. While most attendees knew about Raygun’s t-shirts, hardly anybody knew about the story behind it. The owner, Mike Draper, started selling these shirts on college campuses out of a truck across the Northeast. After several years, he finally landed in the Historic East Village near Downtown Des Moines — before the Historic East Village was the place to be. Raygun has been a local establishment since 2004 and has been growing steadily ever since. They are a perfect model of how successful a young professional can be with the right dream and dedication. Raygun has grown every year and now boasts 12 employees between their two offices in the Historic East Village and Iowa City.

There are many things to be taken away from the morning — for me, it’s the reassurance that young professionals can be as successful as they want to be. Draper proves to all YP’s that hard work, dedication, and a strong dream can make things happen, especially in Des Moines.

If you haven’t attended a YPC Morning Meetup before — you should. There is much to learn about what is happening with Des Moines’ local establishments, along with meeting new people, networking, and did I mention FREE food/coffee: what could be better?

Brian Springer

Young Professionals Connection (YPC)

The Young Professionals Connection (YPC) promotes an environment that attracts and retains young professionals in Greater Des Moines (DSM). YPC connects young professionals to each other and to the community through social, civic, charitable and professional development endeavors. YPC members have unique opportunities to grow personally and professionally and forge lasting relationships. They engage, connect and form a foundation for their future in DSM. YPC is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.