Playing it forward!

Dianne St. Jean
Showing off their skills. Parents and spectators got to see just a bit of what the kids learned during the week.
Showing off their skills. Parents and spectators got to see just a bit of what the kids learned during the week.
Head to head! Junior team players get ready to face off with the coaches for a friendly game.
Head to head! Junior team players get ready to face off with the coaches for a friendly game.

Kids from the Robson Valley and beyond had the opportunity once again to participate in basketball summer camp held at Valemount Secondary School during the first week of July.

In all 23 young people were registered from McBride and Valemount, and even a visitor from outside Canada participated.

This was the third year for the Play It Forward camp, the inspiration of JD Cardinal to provide kids in the north with an opportunity to participate in something they otherwise would likely not be able to.

Cardinal, a graduate from McBride Secondary School, launched the camp three years ago with the help of mom Devanee and fellow coaches Lorne Braam and Linnaea VanderZwan, who at the time were attending College and playing college basketball.

Since then Cardinal and Braam have returned every year, adding along with them coach Clayton Unger from Vanderhoof. Although VanderZwan did not coach this year, she came in on the last day to participate with the wind up.

All the coaches come from northern communities and so understand the challenges of living in fairly remote communities that make it difficult for kids to attend things such as sports camp.

The average cost of basketball camp in a city runs anywhere from $600-$1000. Add to that costs of travel, meals and accommodation and you end up with something very few people from remote areas can afford to enroll their kids in.

That’s why Cardinal and company decided to do this. They call it ‘Play It Forward’ because this is their way of giving back and providing kids in remote and rural communities with a chance to experience a summertime basketball camp. The fee is a low $150, with some sponsorships available.

The camp starts on a Monday and wraps up on a Friday with the kids showing off their honed skills to parents and spectators and playing a game against the coaches.

Afterwards awards were handed out, the coaches giving a word about each player, what they appreciated about them, how they’ve improved, and their strengths.

The camp looks like it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also of high caliber and really brings out the kids’ talents.

Watch for it again next year!

We got defense! Players gave the coaches a run for their money at Friday’s wind up games.
We got defense! Players gave the coaches a run for their money at Friday’s wind up games.
Looks like Harrison qualifies for Harlem Globe Trotters.
Looks like Harrison qualifies for Harlem Globe Trotters.

 

Playing it forward!
Left to right: JD Cardinal, Linnaea VanderZwan, Devanee Cardinal, Lorne Braam and Clayton Unger.
Left to right: JD Cardinal, Linnaea VanderZwan, Devanee Cardinal, Lorne Braam and Clayton Unger.