Youngstarz camp reaches out to area youth
Published 11:03 pm Saturday, July 5, 2014
The Youngstarz basketball camp continued its mission to provide young people a worthwhile learning experience in its 10th year, featuring 63 participants last week, with current and former professional players on hand to help at Nansemond River High School.
Nansemond River varsity boys’ basketball coach Ed Young, who hosts the Monday-Thursday all-day camp, said it went “as good, if not better, than any of the other ones.”
He estimated a little over half the campers — rising 3rd- through 8th-graders — were returning from previous years.
Email newsletter signup
“We get a good return of kids, which to me is a sign — and I’m not patting my shoulders — of a camp that’s good,” Young said.
The majority of the campers were from Suffolk, but several came from outside the city, as well. That group included youths from Chesapeake, Portsmouth, the Windsor area, Virginia Beach, North Carolina and Mariyon Johnson from Chicago, Ill., who was visiting his grandparents.
Ten-year-old Ayden Stuffel of Suffolk said his favorite thing about the camp was “that we did many different drills.”
He is the son of Nansemond River varsity baseball coach Mark Stuffel and will be playing baseball, but he said this is his first year giving basketball a try. “I’ve been wanting to play,” he said.
Nine-year-old Brett Hartgerink of Suffolk referred to a timed drill that required quick shooting at the top of his list of favorite camp activities: “I like doing the Hot Shot, one-on-one and free throws.”
The camp had about a half-dozen girls participating this year. One of them was 9-year-old Claire Askew of Suffolk, who said, “I learned how to set screens and go around screens.”
Seven-year-old Jayden Beamon of Suffolk had a similar experience, as he said, “I learned how to play defense, set screens, pass the ball and dribble.”
Highlighting an additional benefit of the camp, Askew said, “I made a lot of friends.”
Guest speakers during the week included former NBA player Teko Wynder from the Western Tidewater Community Services Board and former Nansemond River player Andre Jones, who played professionally in Finland last year. He has potential to continue playing overseas, as well.
Nansemond River alumni serving as Young’s assistants included Norfolk State University’s Janel Cannon, The University of Virginia College at Wise’s Ashante Humphries, University of Mount Olive’s Dontrell Brite and Sterling Peden, formerly of Ferrum College.
Current Warriors assisting Young included rising seniors Matt Allmond, Paul Hall Jr. and Aaron Parker, and the camp director of managerial operations was NR graduating senior Savannah Triplett.
Kanesha Kindred, a King’s Fork High School graduate who has helped Young for most of the camp’s run, said her favorite thing about it is seeing campers “run around and actually learn something and seeing them work hard at what they want to be.”
Sixteen youths took advantage of a special summer offer and are already signed up for next year.
Young is considering expanding the camp by a few days or a week.