By Felicia Williams, LST Program Director, WestCare Wisconsin
This past June, we partnered with former NBA player, Marcus Landry, to present The WestCare Wisconsin Fundamental Basketball Camp on Saturday mornings at the Northcott Neighborhood Center in Milwaukee! In addition to Landry’s coaching, we had the pleasure of having the 2020 City Conference Player of the Year and recent Milwaukee High School graduate, Quinton Murrell, volunteer and help out with the camp as well!
When the camp first started, our youth were provided a notebook for them to journal in and would start the first 30 minutes of each morning with a keyword that they were given to reflect on and write about. Our staff were proud to partner with Own It Mentoring Service on this component of each day of the camp. Before they left for the day, they would hear from some truly awesome guest speakers who spoke about their life experiences. We quickly realized that a Saturday was not enough! So, we scheduled conference calls for Wednesdays at 5:30 pm for youth in the camp to participate in. We originally started the camp with youth from the 53212 area who then started talking to their friends about it!
At first, they didn’t always want to do what was asked of them, but as we drove them to work harder, they started to understand the purpose. We created plays titled, “Wash the dishes,” “Take out the trash” and “Make da bed.” As they mastered our plays, we would sit and talk with them about the purpose of the plays and why their guardian (predominately single mothers) shouldn’t have to ask them several times to perform these tasks at home.
On August 7th, the final day of the camp, we had a basketball game with the Milwaukee Police Department where we invited the youth’s parents as well. Through the camp, our youth gained the ability to understand teamwork and listening. At first, they didn’t always want to do what was asked of them, but as we drove them to work harder, they started to understand the purpose.
With coverage on local radio stations, a story aired by TMJ4, and an article published in The Shepard Express, word has spread well about the important lessons that we were able to teach with the help of Marcus and our amazing community partners!