Glades-area teens learn life les­sons at bas­ket­ball camp

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Northern Palm Beach County - - Front Page - By Faran Fa­gen Spe­cial to The Palm Beach Post ffa­gen@aol.com

Glades Cen­tral High bas­ket­ball stand­out Pa­tri­ana Vick­ers trav­eled to New Jer­sey to learn the men­tal as­pects of bas­ket­ball while de­vel­op­ing char­ac­ter and life skills.

From tip - off to fi­nal buzzer, the Ball Stars Youth Camp was a slam dunk.

“This camp will en­hance our bas­ket­ball IQ , and add ex­tra tech­niques that will raise me and my team­mates’ game as well,” said Vick­ers, a ju­nior who plays all po­si­tions for the Raiders.

Eight Glades-area stu­dents were cho­sen for the pres­ti­gious one-week sum­mer camp headed by for­mer NBA All-Stars Otis Bird­song and Michael Ray Richard­son. Be­sides bas­ket­ball, the camp pro­motes team­work, lead­er­ship and re­spect, and teaches the kids life skills. The girls fin­ished last week and the boys are there now.

“For the ladies, it was get­ting to in­ter­act with play­ers on dif­fer­ent lev­els from el­e­men­tary to high school,” said chap­er­one Carla Star­ling of the Palm Beach Count y Sherif f ’s Off i c e. “They were re­ally sur­prised how some of the younger girls were so ag­gres­sive and skilled in bas­ket­ball.”

The girls were ac­com­pa­nied by Star­ling, and the boys are ac­com­pa­nied by Glades Cen­tral High School bas­ket­ball coach Ken­neth Tor­rence (“Coach T”), who also is a PBSO deputy.

Both the boys and girls camps took place in Pater­son, N.J. All travel ex­penses were cov­ered by the Palm Beach County Po­lice Ath­letic League and the Palm B e a c h C o u n t y S h e r i f f ’s Foun­da­tion.

“The camp is not only about the game of bas­ket­ball, it’s about the game of life and every­thing that goes with it,” Tor­rence said. “The camp ex­poses them to much more than they could have ever ex­pe­ri­ence here in Pa­ho­kee, South Bay and Belle Glade. They get a chance to meet new peo­ple that they prob­a­bly wouldn’t have meet and learn new skills.”

In June, the Ball St ars Youth Camp made a stop a t G l a d e s C e n t r a l Hi g h School and, with the help of PBSO, ran a pro­gram for 350 kids. Dur­ing the Belle Glade camp, the fol­low­ing eight play­ers shined and were in­vited to join other kids from around the coun­try at the All-Star camp in New Jer­sey.

The girls cho­sen to at­tend Aug. 6 - 10 were Samori’a Curry ( ju­nior, Pa­ho­kee High School), Vick­ers ( ju­nior, Glades Cen­tral High School) and Lin­nai­jah Brown (se­nior, Glades Cen­tral High School).

The boys cho­sen to at­tend Aug. 13 to Fri­day were Jairi Wil­liams ( ju­nior, Pa­ho­kee High School), Jeremiah Wil­liams (sopho­more, Pa­ho­kee High School), James Free­man III (sopho­more, Paho- kee High School), Tar­quin Rhett (se­nior, Glades Cen­tral High School) and Jerome West (sopho­more, Pa­ho­kee High School).

“I was very ex­cited to be picked to go on this amaz­ing trip and I hoped to learn new things about bas­ket­ball from a dif­fer­ent coach’s point of view,” Brown said.

Camp runs 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day. One evening, Bird­song and Richard­son took the girls to a WNBA game at the Westch­ester Con­ven­tion Cen­ter to see the New York Lib­erty and the Los An­ge­les Sparks. They had court­side seats, and the girls got a chance to see their fa­vor- ite player, Sparks star Can­dace Parker.

“I think that was the high­light for all of us,” Star­ling said.

An­other night af­ter prac­tice, the girls were given a tour of t he NBA s tore in Times Square, and the fa­mous soul food restau­rant Sylvia’s in Har­lem.

B u t t h e b i g ge s t t a ke - away f or al l t he pl ay­ers was the bas­ket­ball skills they learned. Drills, prac­tice, tech­niques and strat­egy were bro­ken down to their el­e­ments for these Palm Beach County play­ers.

“Thi s c a mp wi l l r a i s e our game by adding new drills and moves to trick our de­fender,” Curry said. “It will raise my game by al­low­ing me to think more and move quicker, and raise my bas­ket­ball IQ.”

Brown was so ex­cited for the trip, that she took three days to pack, and on the day of de­par­ture, she was up three hours early.

With so much to gain from the camp, she had rea­son to be anx­ious.

“This camp will help me im­prove so I can show my team­mates new skills, and we can use these moves in a game,” she said.

CON­TRIB­UTED

Sher­iff’s Foun­da­tion chair­man Rick Sey­mour (from left) stands with PBSO Deputy and Glades Cen­tral High School bas­ket­ball coach Ken­neth Tor­rence; Ball Stars Youth Camp mem­bers Pa­tri­ana Vick­ers (ju­nior at Glades Cen­tral), Lin­nai­jah Brown (se­nior at Glades Cen­tral), Carla Star­ling (PBSO Cor­rec­tions), Samori’a Curry (ju­nior at Pa­ho­kee High School), Jairi Wil­liams (ju­nior at Pa­ho­kee), Jerome West (sopho­more at Pa­ho­kee), Jeremiah Wil­liams (sopho­more at Pa­ho­kee), James Free­man III (sopho­more at Pa­ho­kee) and Tar­quin Rhett (se­nior at Glades Cen­tral); First Lady of Belle Glade Lisa Wil­son; Kevin Jack­son Hamil­ton of Palm Beach County PAL; and PBSO Sergeant Wil­lie Brookins.

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