BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Cagers were back on the courts as camps returned after taking a break due to COVID-19 shutdowns last summer.
“It’s nice to have camp again,” Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball Head Coach Tim Wasilk said. “It was a good experience.”
Mini Ballers Basketball Camp returned with two sessions for boys entering Kindergarten through third grade and girls entering Kindergarten through second grade, June 28 to July 1.
The same week Fife Fundamentals Basketball Camp was held in the morning for boys entering fourth through sixth grade and Fife Basketball Camp for boys enter grades seventh through ninth was July 12-15.
Wasilk shared there were around 275 campers for all four camps and numbers were up a little bit.
“I felt based on last year and not being able to have camps and then this year with having camps and things opening up people were eager to get their kids to camp and kids were eager to get to camp and get back in the swing of things,” he said, adding camps were competitive. “The kids worked hard with good basketball players. Overall I think the experience was good for all the kids and the staff.”
Campers were led by coaches and varsity players in the Clarkston Basketball program during the week.
“We tried to get as many as our varsity players involved with camp,” said Wasilk. “It’s good for them to make relationships with the kids. Also, be in a position they are not a player and they are a coach and see that side of it as well. I think they liked it and enjoyed it. The younger kids look up to them as well. It is a win-win situation for our players and the kids in the camps.”
All campers improved their basketball skills throughout the week.
“With fourth through ninth graders, they improved. On day one we tell them the first day is the toughest because there is a lot of explanation and understanding for what we are doing for the week. After day one, things run pretty smooth,” Wasilk said. “By day four, they are too tired to do anything. They are extremely exhausted. The older kids will do 3-on-3 tournaments and five-on-five tournaments. We always do contest finals on Thursday as well.”
He added there was improvement with the younger grades as well but it was different.
“With the younger levels you could see a little bit of the gap where kids weren’t able to have the experience last year,” Wasilk said. “It took kids Kindergarten through third grade a little longer to get into the swing of things. Missing that year was valuable to them but by the end of the week all around the younger kids were in a pretty good spot.”
Wasilk added a bonus for this year was air conditioning running in the gym.
“It really makes a big difference for everyone as far as camp running smoother, and kids being in better moods due to not having the heat in the gym. It was good.”
All three camps were held through Clarkston Community Education and Independence Township Parks, Recreation and Seniors. For more camps and events offered, please visit www.itpr.org.