Kids enjoy Hoops-4-Life
Published 9:25 pm Friday, August 8, 2014
Local youths have been embracing the opportunity to hone their skills on the hardwood at the Hoops-4-Life summer basketball camp, with leaders dedicated to helping them on several fronts.
Sessions of the Suffolk Parks and Recreation-sponsored event are being held Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., for boys and girls ages 8 to 11 at Kings Fork Recreation Center.
“It’s been going real good,” camp supervisor Jamaris Sanders said Thursday. “Saw a lot of kids come in, a lot of kids have shown improvement over the time. Had some kids that came in on the heavier side, now they’ve lost a little weight, parents (are) happy about that.”
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He said 55 youths have participated in the camp. He noted ways a camp like this can benefit the city’s young people.
“A lot of the kids in Suffolk play basketball, so this is just another way for them to continue on to get better,” Sanders said.
It also keeps them away from negative influences.
“Eight- to 11-year-olds, they don’t really get in too much trouble, but this is the age group that I guess some gangs or people target to get them young,” Sanders said.
At the camp, the youths are receiving instruction from successful athletes, including former Suffolk High School star Tony Smith, who played professionally overseas for 11 years.
Dexter Davis, a 2013 Lakeland High School graduate and former player, is a recreation leader at the camp. He described what it has been like working with the youths.
“You get a lot of good stuff out of helping someone,” he said. “I’m trying to help them get to the next level. I’m telling them what things they should do and what they shouldn’t do to help them.”
Sanders said the kids have been learning the basics of the game: “Chest pass, bounce pass, overhead pass, dribbling between the legs, left-hand layup, right-hand layup, layup lines, free throw shooting, step-back jumper — everything.”
Ten-year-old Dwayne Wiggins of Suffolk said the camp is fun, and — like many of his fellow campers — his favorite part is the 5-on-5 scrimmages.
“It’s really competitive,” he said. “It helps me with my basketball so I can get tough.”
He aims to play in high school, as does 11-year-old Michael Sellers of Suffolk.
Sellers said he enjoyed the scrimmages most, in part, “’cause I can shoot a lot.”
Ten-year-old Xavier Solomon of Suffolk also appreciated the stretches and drills, while Suffolk’s 9-year-old Jabez Price, playing basketball for the first time, said the stretching exercises were his favorite part, and he is interested in playing more basketball.
Campers have also received good instruction through workshops led by guest speakers.
“We had a nutritionist, police, colleges and coaches come talk to the youth,” camp supervisor Roberto Ramos stated in a text message.
Hoops-4-Life concludes on Aug. 15.