Squamish Youth Basketball is mounting a comeback after taking off about a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The camp started in 2019, but had to pause because of the pandemic, said creator Mike Wheaton. He said the camp started up again this spring and is currently running at the outdoor courts outside of Howe Sound Secondary.
“I started the camp, and you know just did a little bit of advertising, and found that it moved quite quickly from five or six kids to 20 kids. And parents were quite excited to have basketball in town,” said Wheaton.Wheaton said the camp quickly grew to have a girls program, a seven to nine-year-old program and a 10 to 12-year-old program.
“Then, of course, COVID hit and that shut everything down,” he said.Since returning, Wheaton said he has partnered with Jr. NBA and Canada Basketball which has helped provide a lot of structure for the camps as well as resources for parents who would like to get involved with coaching.
The camp runs as a non-registered not-for-profit, Wheaton said, because he wants to get as many kids as involved as possible. Plus, participants get their own reversible jersey and ball this time, he said.“They got their jerseys — they were pumped about that. You know, we have Raptors, Lakers, Celtics and Golden State jerseys.”
The participants were a little more excited for this August camp than in the spring, said Wheaton.“I think kids were coming out of a kind of a shell,” said Wheaton said of the Spring camp. “They weren't out, they weren't socializing, they weren't sure how close they could get… I could tell that we've been open from COVID for a little bit of time [with this camp] because kids are coming out of their shell.”
Ultimately, Wheaton said he is glad that kids in Squamish have a chance to play and learn about basketball while also learning about teamwork.“It was nice to see the kids working together because team sports in this town, there’s not a huge focal point on them — a lot of individual stuff. I do notice, in my previous camps, when kids come together, dealing with each other’s emotions, working together, being respectful.”
“I'm excited to see the kids of Squamish — whether it be with Squamish Youth Basketball or with Hoop Reel — get out there and play.”Interested players and parents can find more information about the upcoming camps and prices at squamishyouthbasketball.ca.