DUFUR – The 23rd annual Jumpstart Basketball Camp in Dufur breezed by this week, with many campers coming away better players and teammates after sharpening their skills under the tutelage of a solid cast of veteran coaches.
Headlined by coordinator Tom Conklin, Brian Stevens and several local coaches from across the gorge, more than 150 athletes from across the Greater Columbia River Gorge and beyond were on hand to soak in those years of knowledge as the foundation of basketball fundamentals in five days of clinical tutorials.
In addition to Conklin and Stevens, working with the youths were coaches Greg Glesener, Justin and Luke Conklin, Kevin Dale, Tim and Julia McClure, Jason Cooper, Justin Smith, Reed Haynes and Jasmine Stevens.
Conklin said that the campers have learned and practiced the fundamentals of basketball, learned the rules, practiced sportsmanship elements and further developed a pure love of the sport.
“Jumpstart stresses the unique tension of teaching, practicing hard and providing a format for each camper to take chances and risks with what they learned during skill sessions in multiple games throughout the week,” he said.
The skill level of these youngsters, ranging from second-through-ninth grades, is much higher than in years past and Conklin said the competition found in the games amongst the older group were more intense.
Each morning, all campers met in the main gym for the quote of the day.
There were a variety of pre-written quotes to build that day’s lessons on, such as, “Today’s Preparation Determines Tomorrow’s Achievement.” “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right,” or “Success is best measured by how far you have come with the talent you’ve been given,” or “The will to win cannot be greater than they will to prepare to win.”
After receiving those words of encouragement, the kids broke up into groups to practice skills on the hardwood.
At the end of each day, the kids embarked to Dufur City Pool for swimming under the sun.
There was also the Casa El Mirador Shootout, which took place every day, and a slam dunk contest.
All campers received a take home packet at the end of day one, detailing the week’s plan, swimming, coupons and more.
Thursday at noon, all the campers were treated to lunch entertainment on the outdoor courts, where the fifth and sixth, along with the seventh-through-ninth boys and girls competed in a free throw competition, followed by the seventh-through-ninth boys and girls slam dunk competition.
During the week, team and league games are played, leading to a final tournament, an all-star game and a coaches selection for Jumpstart 110-percent campers in all gyms, Jumpstart MVP awards, and coaches choice awards.
“This week is intense and the kids and coaches make it a standout event,” Conklin added. “We are all exhausted at the end of each day, but just look at the kids and you’ll know the effort is worth it. I have to mention with the rising cost of equipment, supplies, fundraising and paid coaches, donations from Casa El Mirador and Devco Mechanical are huge to the function of all the Jumpstart programs throughout the year.”
Along with the opportunity to work together to practice their new skills, the aim of the camp is predicated on emphasizing the basic elements, developing proper mechanics and gaining valuable game experience.
Campers acquire and carry the knowledge over for a chance to get a solid start to their upcoming seasons.
In the end, there is no bigger tool then getting on the hardwood.
“It’s a rewarding feeling to see a kid come in with little to no skill and come away from camp with some of the basic fundamentals and, more importantly, learning how to carry themselves,” said Stevens, who has been a camp coach for the past decade. “We always have a few kids from tough backgrounds that come into camp with an attitude, but leave camp with a new positive outlook on life.”
Conklin added that the coaches and their philosophy should be credited to doing something right, in that they just completed the 23rd Jumpstart Basketball camp.
“There are many to thank for this success, namely the parents that believe our philosophy of success-oriented training, the selected quality of our coaches, and all the programs in Dufur and The Dalles that have benefited from Jumpstart,” said Conklin. “It feels good to be a part of something special. The coaches and I enjoy being a part of these kids’ lives. We build confidence and teach them not only how to become better players, but better people.”
Each winter, the Jumpstart organization is involved in raising funds to offset the cost of running a camp of this size and quality, through the Columbia River Trail, three-race series and other events.
Conklin said Jumpstart also offers youth of the Gorge area fall elementary cross country races and spring track events.
Parents can email jumpstartyouthactivities @gmail.com or hit up www.jumpstartcamps.com for a look at camps and other events.
through the calendar year.