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03/15/2006 12:56 PM ET
Campo Las Palmas celebrates 20th season
Frank and Jamie McCourt donate $20,000 to Dodgers' adopt-a-school during their first visit to the team's Dominican Academy
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GUERRA, Dominican Republic -- The Los Angeles Dodgers' baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, Campo Las Palmas, enters its 20th year of helping develop future Dodgers and the facility will celebrate the landmark with a visit today from Dodger Owner and Chairman, Frank McCourt, Vice Chairman and President Jamie McCourt, General Manager Ned Colletti, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Marty Greenspun, Sr. Vice President of Communications Camille Johnston, Vice President of Scouting and Player Development, Roy Smith and Vice President of Spring Training and Minor League Facilities, Craig Callan. The Dodgers also announced that the McCourts would donate $20,000 to Futuro Vivo, the club's adopted school in Santo Domingo.

"Campo Las Palmas has set the standard for what a baseball academy should be and we're extremely proud of the work done here, not only on the field, but in the community as well," said Frank McCourt. "Eleodoro Arias and his staff should take great pride in the accomplishments of the academy over the past two decades."

Arias, who serves as the director of Campo Las Palmas and has been with the club since 1985, oversees the development of hundreds of Dodger prospects each year. Longtime Dodger scout Ralph Avila, who joined the club in 1971 and recently took on the additional title of Senior Advisor, Latin American Scouting, will expand his role by taking a more active part in the Dodgers' scouting operations throughout Latin America.

Upon their arrival in the Dominican Republic, the McCourts announced that they will donate $20,000 to Futuro Vivo, a school in Santo Domingo that was adopted by the Dodgers. The school offers education, nutrition and medical assistance to more than 500 underprivileged children. The McCourts donation comes on the heels of last year's announcement in which Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda spearheaded the club's donation and delivery of three 45-passenger buses from Los Angeles to Futuro Vivo.

Campo Las Palmas, which opened its doors on March 21, 1987, is located in the town of Guerra, just east of the Dominican Republic's capital city of Santo Domingo. When it opened nearly 20 years ago, it was the first-of-its kind facility and has since been replicated by numerous teams throughout baseball. Located on 75 acres of land, the academy is equipped with two full and two half baseball fields, a dining room, kitchen, recreation room and two two-story dormitories that accommodate up to 100 players.

Among the notable alumni to reach the Major Leagues from Campo Las Palmas are current Dodgers Willy Aybar and Franquelis Osoria, as well as former Dodgers Adrian Beltre, Pedro Martinez, Raul Mondesi and Pedro Astacio, among others.

In addition to their baseball instruction, Dodger prospects receive academic instruction, including English lessons. There are also lessons on American culture and assistance in dealing with situations that will confront the players when they arrive in the United States.

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