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Updates

ALASKA

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CLICK HERE for the photo album.

Team Members: Michael & Carter Eddy, Todd & Luke Helgeson, Johnny & Jesse Mumford, Earl & Jack Herrington

Saturday, July 16

The Alaska Team of 8 from Denton left from Dallas this morning headed for Aleknagik, Alaska. They will bring basketball camps to 2 age groups in Dillingham next week.

Monday, July 18

Here's the report from our Alaska Team:

The day went great! We had 40 kids at both camps. We had a great turnout and the kids had a great time!! There was extra help from Rylie and Cameron Fuentes today. The local radio station came by and interviewed different people on the team. This is our main source of news. You can listen on this link: http://kdlg.org/post/hoops-faith-and-fun.

The team is adjusting to the time change and to the 24 hour sunlight. It has been extremely warm. We have been able to see a bear and porcupine by the lodge.

Wednesday, July 20

Tuesday had seven more kids than the day before, 47 total. The afternoon session went really well. The early session has many beginning players so they continue to improve each minute we work with them.

Each day the team has been able to adjust to the demands to make the camp run more smoothly and effectively. Coaches have been able to build relationships.

We have had a chance to see several bears, a bald eagle, porcupines, and birds. The beautiful creation and a full moon tonight sing of glory and amazing creativity! The water and mountains with beautiful trees are an amazing site.

Thursday, July 21

Things are going great with the Alaska Team and the kids are wonderful.

Friday, July 22

Here's the report from our Alaska Team:

Camp is up to over 60 kids. It rained today but the weather did not keep the kids from coming. They competed and had a fun day of camp. Kids are really enjoying our time here in their participation and attitudes. Many requested we come back next year. We are challenged to finish strong.

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CLICK HERE for the photo album.

Pictured, L-R

Matthew Stevens, Chandler Steinke, Lee Pahmiyer, Deanna Estepp, Jeff Coker, Jamie Amos, and Michael Estepp

SATURDAY JUNE 15

Today our Alaska team pulled out of the parking lot at 12:30pm headed for Austin. The first leg of the flight was departing at 4:40pm taking them to Dallas where they would have only 40 minutes to catch their next flight to Seattle. They received an alert from the airlines that this flight had been changed and the 40 minutes, which was already too fast, had been shortened to only 15. With some help from our travel agent, Jeff Coker, the leader, talked with the ticket agent when they checked in and had the tickets changed. They wouldn’t fly to Dallas to then go on to Seattle but would go straight to Seattle. This was the schedule we wanted in the first place but tickets were too expensive!

The team will arrive in Dillingham, Alaska around the middle of the day and will let us know when they arrive.

Please ask for safety during travel and for the team to find rest along the way.

TUESDAY JUNE 18

The Alaska team had a challenging first day of camps yesterday. After a hearty breakfast and team time at the lodge, they left for the gym in Dillingham. The first camp is for kids under 12. There were 13 campers, most of them young, which presented a challenge. They were too small to go through the drills and they weren’t competitive, so competitions were out. On day 2, the structure would be adapted to better suit this camp. They really enjoyed story time.

The afternoon camp in Dillingham was for kids 12 and older. There were 4 campers today, but they enjoyed learning basketball skills. One freshman in high school knew how to play, so she really got into the game.

At one point today, there were 5 older guys (late teens, early 20’s) who came into the gym wanting to play. It was during story time, so Jeff gave them a ball and asked them to play on the outdoor court. If they came back today, one of the coaches planned to work with them outdoors.

The team traveled back to Aleknagik for the last camp of the day, open to all ages. At starting time, 5:00pm, there were no kids. They started showing up at 5:15-5:30 and by 6:00pm there were 13.

It seems that the kids aren’t used to structured sports like this. It was in the lower 80’s yesterday (unseasonably warm), so the kids were “hot.” They were sluggish because of it. It hadn’t rained either, which would cool things down and encourage them to go indoors.

After dinner, the team debriefed about the day’s camps and concluded that they would focus more on the relational side of camps than teaching basketball skills. They are used to swimming and fishing, so the coaches will have to work harder to engage the younger kids and encourage all of them to learn something new. For example, one kid lost interest and sat down. A coach kept engaging him until he would throw the basketball back and forth from his seated position.

Please ask Dad for the word to get around about the camps so more participants will show up. Ask for the coaches to have innovative ideas to connect with the younger ones in the first camp. Ask for the team to continue to grow with each other as they work through these challenges. Ask for strength for Michael’s sore knees and ankles. Everyone is healthy. Ask for opportunities for the coaches and kids to connect, even in unexpected ways.

Matthew and Chandler are having a great time together. I hear they are eating non-stop like typical teenagers.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 19

The Alaska team was excited at the changes made to the camps and the progress they made with the kids. There were 12 kids in the morning camp. Some were new and some from yesterday didn’t come. Jamie started out by taking the kids through some stretching exercises, and then they ran relay races to get the blood pumping. They did a shorter version of the stations which worked well. One local kid brought his basketball goal for the smaller kids to use which was helpful too.

There was a new kid named Braden whose family moved from Arizona to Alaska to fish. He had good skills and high energy, and encouraged the others. His favorite athletic is Allen Iverson, which meant this 10 year old knew a lot about the sport.

One kid’s sore on his arm started to bleed and Jeff cleaned and bandaged it. When the kid’s little sister found out, she came to Jeff with her “booboo” that needed a bandage too. Jeff’s TLC went a long way!

The afternoon camp was much better. There were 12 kids, 2 of which were Braden’s sisters from Arizona who also played well and were on their high school team at home. They really enjoyed the drills.

The older guys who stopped by on Monday did come back with some of their friends, so Jeff started out by assigning them evenly on teams with the other campers. They worked through some shooting drills which everyone enjoyed. Jeff explained to the guys that the stations and mass ball handling they were about to begin were geared more toward high schoolers. Lee walked out with the guys and had some significant conversations.

During the breakout sessions, Matthew and Chandler were thrilled that the kids opened up more than the day before. When Michael and Lee asked their team for things on their heart, Nolan asked that the fish would come in so his family would have work. The coaches were so pleased to see the connections with the kids growing. Because these campers are old enough to work through the drills, this camp is the favorite of half of our coaches.

The rest of the coaches favor the Aleknagik camp. In this camp everyone is related; brothers, sisters or cousins, so the competition is on! The kids wanted to play a full court game, so teams were formed; 5 boys against 5 girls. The score was boys 4 – girls 2 with 5 seconds left in the game. A last second shot by the girls tied the game and it went into overtime. The winning shot was made by a chubby boy who wasn’t that good at basketball. The coaches on the bleachers cheered and ran onto the court to congratulate him. Of course, everyone wanted to keep playing.

One of the teachers came by and said almost all the kids in the village showed up. There are 20 kids in the school (k-8th grade) and 16 were there for camp.

Lisa played with the little boy named Sam who sat on the bench on Monday. Even though he didn’t have much to say, he was laughing and playing on the side. He even sat in small group at the end. On Tuesday he came up to Jeff and said he had a purple wristband and wanted a yellow one. The yellows belong to the girl’s team, but that didn’t matter. Jeff made a deal with him that if he’d participate on Wednesday, he would give him a yellow wrist band, and Sam agreed.

The team is so pleased to see the kids opening up to them and their connections growing. Each kid, no matter how small, has either a dirt bike or 4-wheeler and could be out riding. Instead they are coming to camp and enjoying their time together and that’s encouraging.

Please ask for energy for the team and for good rest. It’s been hotter than normal and the bedrooms upstairs are warmer than the downstairs’ ones. We trust that the connections between coaches and campers will continue to grow.

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