Hoop dreams can start at camp

Every summer for the past 10 years, the Department of Sports has been running youth-orientated sports camps to give beginners in various sports the opportunity to develop skills in time for the start of the school year.

The basketball camp started on July 7 and ends on Aug. 21 at the Arts and Recreation Center in Camana Bay.

Football and netball camps have already completed, with basketball and cricket left to run.

The first cricket camp is on Aug. 10-14, the second from Aug. 17-21 at Smith Road Oval, George Town. All camps run from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day, for children aged 7-16. The camps are free of charge.

Daniel Augustine, a basketball coach from the sports department, said, “The camps have been an important part of development for children of all ages, especially the basketball aspect. The staff and department head met and decided to run the camp.”

The camps are growing each year. Around 120 children will be participating this season, with volunteer coaches drawn from Under-19 players from clubs such as CI Hoopsters, Women of Valour and Silver Bullets.

Coaches from the Cayman Basketball Association and school teachers are also volunteering at the camps.

Augustine said that he wants “all participants to leave with a smile on their faces knowing that they had fun playing the sport of basketball and having met new friends. And that they want to continue playing the sport of basketball after summer ends.”

With basketball being such a popular sport on the islands, this camp aims to inspire a new generation of players.

Shaquille Heath plays for Silver Bullets and is a camp volunteer. He said, “For the past three years, I have been coaching under coach Daniel, who has gotten me into the summer program.”

He said that during that time he has seen “so many wonderful kids pass through the camp excel outside the camp.”

Heath added that this camp is beneficial to young people and raises basketball’s profile. He feels that by coaching them, he is giving back.

“I have been trained to become the young man that I am today by coaches like Daniel Augustine,” he said. “They have taught me respect, patience, perseverance, how to be a skilful player and just being a good person in general.”

Heath feels that he can pass these attributes on to the next generation. “Sports in general unites all races, cultures and religious beliefs. That is why I do what I do and why I love sports.”