After seeing the destruction of the June 17 tornado that hit her hometown of Wadena, Jen Walter was inspired to organize a benefit softball camp and coaches' clinic for area student-athletes and coaches in February.
Walter is a successful head softball coach at the College of St. Scholastic-Duluth and a 1981 graduate of Wadena High School. Walter was a standout athlete while attending Wadena High School, competing in both softball and basketball.
Although her family moved away from Wadena while Walter was in college, she has maintained contact with friends and classmates.
"I have many fond memories of my time in Wadena," said Walter, who now lives in Duluth. After the June 17 tornado, Walter said she followed the recovery progress through the media. It wasn't until October before Walter traveled to Wadena to see the storm's destruction in Wadena. She was especially affected by the damage to the high school and County Stadium, both of which held special memories for Walter.
It was then, she said, that the idea of organizing a benefit softball camp and clinic started to take shape. She is also grateful to W-DC head softball coach, Craig Klawitter; W-DC activities director, Norm Gallant; and the W-DC Letter Winners Club for allowing Walter to organize this event to benefit student-athletes, coaches and Wadena-Deer Creek softball.
"“My hope is to share some of the softball knowledge I have gained over the years, along with my passion for the game, to help out a softball program that sowed the seeds for my future," said Walter.
Walter is entering her 12th season as the head softball coach at the College of St. Scholastica. She has had eight winning seasons, including five with 30-plus victories. Last season, Walter became the second-fastest coach in College of St. Scholastica history to reach the 300-win milestone.
After graduating from WHS as a two-time All-State softball honoree, Walter attended Golden Valley Lutheran College in Minneapolis and Augustana (S.D.) College where she has continued her impressive career as a catcher.
This past summer, Walter was inducted into the Minnesota Fast Pitch Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame as a player.
Klawitter is looking forward to Walter sharing her softball expertise with student-athletes and coaches.
"Jen Walter was one of the first athletes I had the privilege to work with. Many of our local athletes have played for Jen at St. Scholastica," said Klawitter, who has coached girls’ softball for 31 years. "I have had the great pleasure to hear Jen at our Minnesota Fast Pitch Coaches clinic; she does an awesome job. We are so very lucky and grateful to her and her players for putting on this clinic."
The coaches' clinic will be held on Friday, February 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. in Wadena Memorial Auditorium.
The softball camp is open to area teams and players and will be held on Saturday, February 19 starting at 8:30 a.m. and concluding at 5 p.m. in the Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary Gym.
There will be a fee charged to attend the camp and coaches' clinic. Proceeds from the camp and clinic will go directly to the Wadena-Deer Creek girls' softball program to help replace equipment, uniforms and other items lost or damaged from the June 17, 2010 tornado.
The camp is being co-sponsored by the W-DC Letter Winners Club and Greg Larson Sports.