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Saturday, July 30
We are glad to report the Ghana team made it safely there along with all their luggage! They will spend the night In Peduase and travel to Kumasi tomorrow mid morning for camps to begin on Monday.
Sunday, July 31
The team had a great day meeting family and friends in Peduase. We saw several kids from prior trips.
We met a team from Chicago who wanted info on Hoops for Hope, which we gladly shared. We learned that the center in Peduase started a basketball program and had just finished their first camp. How exciting to hear how the program is being multiplied! We also visited a center in Accra who just built a court so they can start a sports program. We met the director who said they are willing to build courts in many other sites in Accra.
We stopped at the Wilshire court on our way to Kumasi and blew up 250 basketballs, which took 2 hours. Then we drove to KPoly and walked through the camp structure. We got to the hotel at 7:00. They had beds pushed together in 4 of the rooms so they had to remake the rooms into twin rooms. We ordered dinner at 8:00 to be ready at 9:00. Caleb got his plate at 10:39. Everyone is tired and in bed.
We are hoping for good weather and a smooth first day.
Monday, August 1
Tim & Aaron encouraged the team to be prepared for the day. Tim challenged them to be relational. He enjoyed reuniting with the kids he coached last year, rekindling the bond between them. Aaron shared how neat it is to be there doing the good work prepared for them to do.
After last night’s fiasco of dinner delays (some received their meal 2 and a half hours after it was ordered!), the team pre-ordered their breakfast last night. When the team arrived in the dining room this morning at 6:30A, their meals were prepared and waiting for them. Many enjoyed omelets, toast, oatmeal, and coffee and tea. They left for their respective sites at 7:15A; Mark and his team to Wilshire Court, and Speedy and his team to Kumasi Poly Technical College, fondly referred to as Kpoly.
The Wilshire Court was lined with kids at 7:30A; 60 who were registered and anxious for camp to start, and another 50 hoping to get in. They divided the kids into teams (6 teams of 10 kids, 8 girls and 52 boys) and started with mass ball handling. At the end of that portion of the camp, Mark shared with them that this was the best first day mass ball handling ever! The kids knew the drills from having been taught by the Ghanaian coaches who are doing an outstanding job, and that was very exciting!
The court was crowded with that many kids, but the coaches were careful to keep their teams together. Sarah E had the girls and did an excellent job with them. Tim had the oldest boys, Aaron the 2nd oldest, Connor the youngest, and Philip (a Ghanaian coach who began as a camper in prior HFH camps) and Jacob had the boys in the middle.
After mass ball handling, they worked quickly through stations, again very familiar with the drills. They had to make some adjustments with the shooting portion of the contests since there were only 4 goals. The coaches were flexible and everything ran smoothly.
After the morning camp was over, the Wilshire team was taken back to the hotel for lunch and rest. That time was very much needed.
The afternoon camp also had 60 kids, waiting and ready to go. This time, Connor had the youngest girls and they just adored him. Sarah had the oldest girls and did well with them. Tim, Aaron and Sarah were wonderful demonstrators. Jacob bonded well with his team as a father figure. Mark was very pleased with his team; they worked so well together. He was also tickled to see the girls encourage each other when one would do well. Norm was an outstanding team dad, serving as a runner for whatever was needed, fetching stray balls, interjecting where he was able, and being helpful at every turn. He was so creative in hanging the banner too. You will notice in the pic that he tied the banner to the tall grass towering over the block wall! He is a tremendous asset to the team.
Speedy’s team arrived at the Kpoly court at 8:00A with their own set of 60 kids anxiously awaiting the HFH team to arrive! The team quickly set up for camp and divided the kids into 6 teams of 10 kids; 40 boys and 20 girls. He was very pleased with his team as well. Caleb, Yogi and Sara N are veterans of the HFH camps in Ghana. They set the tone and showed the first-time coaches, Blake, David and Gabe, how to coach these kids and they caught on very well. The coaches led well and the kids responded well to the instruction and had a blast.
Translators were needed to communicate with these kids in their native language. Stephen and Godfrey, young campers when Speedy coached there in 2011, are now coaches and translators themselves. “This just turns my crank,” Speedy said. Stephen and Godfrey did an outstanding job to move things along as fast as possible, although a certain amount of time is lost in the translation process. They were also able to correct the campers since they knew the drills so well.
Kpoly is too far away from the hotel for them to return each day, so they relaxed in a work out room on campus. It wasn’t air conditioned but it wasn’t hot either. They were able to debrief before they started the afternoon camp.
The 60 kids registered for the afternoon camp which began at 2:00P were standing in line waiting at the court at 11:00A. They were so excited!
Speedy noticed that Yogi’s and Sara’s girls’ teams would clap for each other and encourage each other. That’s the kind of team spirit we look for. Caleb, Gabe, Blake, and David did an excellent job with the kids too.
It was a great first day! It was in the low 80’s today and overcast a good portion of the time. Very pleasant indeed. Definitely cooler than Texas.
Tuesday, August 2
Sara Neumann and Sarah Ellingson challenged the team today to stay focused despite any distractions, such as heat and language barriers. Stay on task.
Breakfast was late today, so several on Speedy’s team rushed out the door with only toast from fellow teammates. Needless to say, lunch was especially tasty and welcomed.
When Mark and the team arrived at the Wilshire court, the perimeter was lined again with the 60 returning campers and 40-50 bystanders. They were at the camp early again today. In fact one kid was there since 6:30A waiting for camp to start at 8:00A!
The kids know the drills so well from working with the Ghanaian coaches that the mass ball handling portion went very quickly. They worked through the stations and were able to add new drills to the mix. They caught on so well!
The coaches added some relays as part of the contests today and they kids went crazy over that. Qwame, director of the Wilshire Court, shared that he wants to incorporate those new drills into their repertoire.
Tim, Aaron & Sarah do a great job of demonstrating. The coaches are connecting very well with the kids. The girls just love Connor, tussling his hair and asking him to please come back next year. I think he’s having fun too.
Aaron shared that Jacob, his son, went through the HFH camp in June 2012 in Los Altos, California. (We worked with Steve Durand and joined Highland’s MOTION team.) It’s the neatest thing that Jacob is now going back through the camp as a coach!
The van driver who took the team back to the hotel yesterday at lunch had to deliver the meals to the Kpoly team, and that’s about an hour’s drive. So the Wilshire team only had a 30 minute break today.
In the second camp, filled with the same 60 campers from yesterday, it also went very well. During team time, Mark sensed that the kids weren’t understanding what he was trying to say. They asked him to continue to speak in English, but the time is too precious to waste on not understanding. One of the Ghanaian coaches translated for him.
Speedy and the Kpoly team arrived 15 minutes early today to the court. (For some reason, the travel to the site took 45 minutes yesterday and only 30 today.) The 60 kids were there anxiously awaiting the team to arrive and camp to start. They were full of energy and glad to see the team when they pulled in.
Today went smoothly, typical of a second day. Kids catch on quickly to the routines and work through the drills and stations in a shorter amount of time. This does allow for some additional drills, but the disadvantage at this site is the need for translators. Speedy has to be mindful of whatever he adds that he only has half the time for the drill. The other half will be spent in translation. Caleb suggested ways to be more efficient with their time and Speedy agreed and made the changes. He is very pleased with his coaches, the veterans who are more and more comfortable each day, and the new ones who are improving each day. Gabe is very energetic with the kids. Yogi had never taught the NBA combine, but today, she and Stephen (the Ghanaian coach) nailed it. All his coaches have a better understanding of the drills and are ready for each one in a minute’s time.
He can see the relationships deepening, evidenced by the kids hanging around during breaks and after camp to talk with the coaches and hanging onto them. It’s a sweet sight to see.
Speedy had several conversations (and sometimes involvement) today with friends at Kpoly, such as the local school PE coach. He knows all the girls and encourages them regularly. He was thrilled to see what we are doing with the kids. Also included was the director of education at the school and the professor at the college. It was very encouraging to know the people in key positions in the education system are wanting better things for the kids of their community.
There was more cloud cover today making the weather very comfortable. The sun came out for 15 minutes at the beginning of the afternoon camp at Kpoly and Speedy thought it might actually be hot. But thankfully that was short lived. The clouds rolled back in and it was nice.
Wednesday, August 3
Today was absolutely beautiful! It was cool with an occasional mist blowing through. There was a fairly consistent cloud cover making it a perfect day to be outside playing basketball.
After Gabe and David challenged the team to remember what really matters, the teams headed out to their respective camp sites.
Once again, the campers were eagerly awaiting at the Wilshire Court. Sarah Ellingson led mass ball handling in the morning camp, and Tim McManis in the afternoon. They did an outstanding job, proving that they are camp leaders in the making.
The kids went crazy for the contests, especially because it was the last opportunity to show how they had improved. Jacob and Tim switched up some aspects of their stations, adjusting to meet the skill levels of their teams. Mark was amazed at how this camp has evolved to suit the kids.
The afternoon camp was very similar to the morning one. They seemed to come alive today, maybe because it was cooler. They loved the competitions, bang ‘em, and relays.
Norm has been an incredible Camp Dad! He has done whatever was needed, including listening when Mark wanted to talk through a change he wanted to make. He is a huge blessing!
Speedy said the day was AWESOME! He was so proud of his coaches. Each one hit the wall at different times throughout the day but they pressed through the tiredness and stayed in the game.
Speedy was so proud of Sara Neumann running the agility station. She was persistent with the kids, taking them on Monday where they could hardly get through the length of the ladder making each step to today, dribbling a ball while going through the ladder. She spent 7 minutes daily for 3 days encouraging the kids and it made a big difference. Blake and David are great at adapting their stations to the skill levels of the campers. They had great conversations with their teams in small groups. Gabe was described as deep water with a still surface. He coaches consistently and energetically. He’s a self-starter, taking the initiative to do anything he notices that needs to be done. Speedy is proud of all his coaches. They were prepared to bring basketball with passion and interact with the kids in team time. Each one was responsible and teachable. Great team!
Caleb Durham (CD) had command of the whistle in the morning camp and did a good job running mass ball handling. In the afternoon, CD accepted the whistle again, this time running not only mass ball handling but competitions. He did a great job managing the teams. Later, he commented that he was frustrated with some of the coaches for doing their own thing and not listening to him. Then it hit him; that’s me! It gives one a whole different perspective being the leader of the camp versus leading your team. By the way, Speedy took CD’s team and loved interacting with the kids, something you lose when you’re the one with the whistle.
Mark and Speedy surprised the coaches with pizza for dinner instead of going to a restaurant. Of course, they loved that! After debrief, they all headed to bed.
Tomorrow, Mark and Speedy will switch locations so they can both experience the sites. The coaches will stay at the same location. The 3rd camp tomorrow will be the same group of kids in the morning, afternoon, and Friday morning.
Thursday, August 4
Breakfast was on time and delicious today, so the team started off on the right foot. CD and Blake challenged the team before they headed out to remember that this is new for the kids. Don’t lose your excitement because it’s familiar to you, but bring your passion and energy for the kids.
Mark and Speedy switched camp sites today and that was exciting. When Mark arrived at Kpoly, there were over 120 kids on the court hoping beyond hope that they could be included in the camp. Mark reminded Amos that we can only take 60 kids in camp, so he turned away that many kids or more. They stood around and watched. Camp began with 18 girls and 42 boys.
Mark was surprised at the foot traffic around them today; kids constantly walking around the court and across the court. This was another confirmation that this site has great potential to reach kids. The morning flew by and then it was lunch. We provided lunch of fish and rice for the campers since they wouldn’t have a chance to go elsewhere to eat. Since they stayed on campus, they shortened the lunch break and started camp again at 1:00P.
The afternoon session went well. Kids remembered what they had learned in the morning and worked hard to do better in the afternoon. They love the contests and bang ‘em. CD ran mass ball handling again and did a great job!
Speedy reports that the Wilshire Court was very different from what he had experienced at Kpoly. The court was smaller. But coaches at WC knew exactly how to handle the tighter quarters and ran their stations well. There were 60 kids registered and waiting when they arrived. Camp consisted of 12 girls and 48 boys.
Sarah E. had the largest team, all girls. They love her and she did a great job with them. Jacob, Aaron and Tim ran their stations with excellence. Jacob has the agility station and runs it like a pro. Connor has the youngest boys and is a great leader to them. Even though Connor had not been involved in basketball team sports, he could demonstrate the vast majority of all the drills they taught. He had the ladder station and nailed it. Philip, the Ghanaian coach with Shoot 4 Life, did an outstanding job as well.
The kids at WC were also fed and the lunch break was shortened. They began camp again at 1:00P and the kids pushed hard. They ended the contests with Last Second Hero which is always a huge hit. Maybe only 5 or 6 kids beat the clock, but when they did, the coaches made a big deal about it and it is a big deal to the kids.
All the coaches are serious about their role and brought quality instruction to the camp. This makes a lead coach proud.
The teams spent their evening signing certificates, totaling scores, turning in camp clothes and packing everything else for the trip to the coast tomorrow after the last session of camp and awards ceremony.
The weather was absolutely great again today. Speedy reports that the sun was out today but the breeze made it nice.
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FRIDAY-AUG 7 It was a fantastic last day of camps today! It’s always hard to say good-bye to the kids.
Since camps started earlier today, kids were late, but when they arrived, it was high energy. They went through each camp component in an abbreviated time frame and added team pics. The closing ceremony is always a highlight because 1st place, 2nd place and coach’s awards are presented to the winners. Each kid walks away with a basketball and certificate too which is a cool thing.
Coach Cody enjoyed his team interacting with the campers, specifically Coach Monty giving piggyback rides to the kids with high scores, and Coaches Amy and Chandler teaching the whole camp the Macarena dance – the kids loved it. He was proud of Coaches Case and Chandler who performed like veteran HFH coaches. The Hammontree Family has been an excellent addition to this HFH trip - they all have a passion for basketball and the kids.
This was a trip marked by training new leaders, including several young ones. Caleb ran competitions today at KNUST and Noah ran mass ball handling, Clifford and Michael did the same in Peduase, and Case and Monty in Kumasi. It’s a great way for our young leaders to learn.
After camps were over and everything was packed away, the team traveled to Coconut Grove Resort on the coast for the evening. They will enjoy a leisure morning tomorrow, then head to Accra to visit a slave fort (different from the one visited by our teams in past years) and continue on for shopping before they fly out in the evening.
Thank you all for your support this week. It has been an incredible journey we won’t soon forget. I’m sure there are many stories yet to be told.
THURSDAY-AUG 6 Today was the warmest yet for the Peduase camps. The cloud cover had burned off and the sun was out. Bright. And the kids felt energized by it and showed up for camp! Historically, this 3rd camp in Peduase has been the lowest in attendance, half the size of the other camps. This one is generally geared to the neighborhood kids. Today when the coaches arrived on the court, they were delightfully surprised to see 57 first time campers ready and eager to learn! An additional 20 were sitting in the stands ready to go through camp again if allowed.
There were 6 older kids in the stands who attended the Monday-Wednesday camps who were pulled in to serve as assistant coaches. John is a young man who has attended the camps for 3 years and has asked every year if he could please be a coach. He was there today and Mark asked him if he wanted to be a coach. His eyes lit up - he was excited and nervous all at the same time. A summer intern from Wheaton who plays basketball with the kids on Saturdays was pulled in to assist John too. John was so excited that it took 4 minutes for him to get his kids lined up for stations.
What is so neat about the way this is so beautifully orchestrated is that these kids from the neighborhood don’t speak English. Had it not been for the 1st and 2nd campers showing up today and being pulled in to assist, our coaches would have had no translators and everything that was accomplished would have been through demonstrations only. Probably one third of what was planned would have been pulled because of time constraints. Bree had 3 assistants, others had 1 or 2. Sara’s assistant knew her well enough that he could start translating when she was only half way through instructions.
Sara shares this about her experience today. “So upon receiving my team, I quickly learned that maybe only one or two of my nine girls actually spoke English, so my assistant coach (a teenage boy named Joshua) came in handy. It was difficult for me to adjust to this language barrier because it was actually a common theme among most of the teams for Camp Three. Anything I wanted to say or correct or instruct had to go through Joshua or my interesting version of sign language. I cannot express how thankful I am for my assistant, though. He is a natural born leader and a great athlete. He is fantastic with the kids, whether it be in instruction, connecting, or just making conversation. Joshua is also a wonderful coach. He was in one of our camps earlier this week, so he knew how everything worked and could run my passing station virtually all on his own. Even when we added a new component to the station that he hadn't done before, he picked it up right away and taught it to the kids incredibly. We were on the same wavelength nearly the entire time and he conducted my team and my station exactly how I would have—the only difference being that he spoke the kids' native language. In our team time, he translated for me as well as added in some of his own stuff that was great! The kids just opened up to him and confessed some things to him, and I really loved having a team that was talkative during team time, even if it wasn't to me. It would have been torture trying to make this camp work without Joshua. All the other coaches sing their assistants' praises too. We were truly blessed with these great kids who have the heart to serve and coach. With these kids' help, session one and session two (though still challenging), were a complete success.”
Mark led the morning camp and was so proud of the coaches for being flexible. They adjusted to changes on the fly. Many stations had to be repositioned because of the number of kids.
In the afternoon camp, Michael led mass ball handling and stations, which allowed Mark to air 40 additional balls needed for the campers and get the awards ready for the closing ceremony. He returned to go through team pics and competitions.
Coach Cody reported a full camp today in Patasi as well. Monty led the morning camp in mass ball handling and Case led the afternoon. They did a great job of keeping a good pace. The coaches did really well staying up and energetic for a new set of campers.
There were 44 kids eager to get started in this Thursday camp at KNUST, so when it was time, Noah led them through mass ball handling. Vincent had told Speedy that a bus load of around 50 kids from the school where the new basketball court had been built was coming to go through the camp. They arrived 45 minutes late and by then, the campers who were officially registered were finished with the mass ball handling portion of the camp. So what would they do with these who just arrived? Noah had every camper sit down on the court with their team so they could determine how many kids from the bus they could add to the current teams. Of the 51 kids bussed in, 16 were added to the 44 already there making a full camp of 60 kids. Speedy took the other 35 to a nearby empty court and did mass ball handling with the few balls not in use and ran some cross court drills. It worked out when they put their minds together and everyone was willing to be flexible.
Speedy was impressed with Noah and the other coaches. They were all tired but kept the energy level high. Noah has some insight now with why his dad gets frustrated when he doesn’t listen out on the court. It was a challenge to keep the coaches and teams moving along today.
After the morning camps tomorrow, the teams will pack up and head to the coast for a nice relaxing evening meal. Then on Saturday, they will have an opportunity to shop in Accra before each one starts the trek back home.
WEDNESDAY-AUG 5 Coach Speedy with the KNUST team reports that as typical for the third day of camp, everyone seemed really tired. The coaches were awesome and determined to keep their energy level up and the campers fed off of that.
This team put into practice our main word for trips – FLEXIBILITY! Camp starts each morning at 8:30. The balls are locked up on this campus because there’s not enough room to transport them each day in their small van. The coach with the key to the locked room was supposed to open the door at 8:00 so the team could get ready for the kids to show up at 8:30. Today he didn’t show up until 9:10! The coaches were wonderful though. They improvised with team pics first, then contests with a very limited amount of balls, and when it was time to continue with stations and mass ball handling, the balls were there. The team showed adaptability! Speedy has been impressed as well with how the coaches are adapting each drill to the skill level of the campers.
At the end of camp and after many sweet good-byes, Noah, Chase and Hudson joined a soccer game on the field next door where there was a soccer sports camp in progress. It was neat for our coaches to join them in a game they know very well.
Coach Cody has enjoyed working with the Hammontree Family, a different dynamic than we typically have on a trip. He is also enjoying coaching with Case and Chandler. He plans to turn the mass ball handling portion of the camp to Case in the morning and Monty in the afternoon. [My favorite FB comment today was “Monty nice.”] It’s always good to train up others to lead in the team. Speedy plans to turn this over to Noah tomorrow morning at KNUST as well.
Today in Peduase, Michael ran the mass ball handling in the morning and Cliff in the afternoon. They did so well that Mark will run tomorrow morning, Michael in the afternoon, and Cliff again on Friday morning. It’s great to see others step into leadership roles! And the 4 young coaches have bonded well and are together all the time.
Mark noticed that there are areas these campers are in need of instruction in, so today, he exchanged 2 stations for training in defense, jump stops, pivot, etc. He sees that they don’t know what traveling is, or double dribbling and making this a part of the training will help.
Today 4 ladies asked if they may enter the staging room where the team was working on camp prep. The ladies wanted to know who they needed to talk with about this basketball program. They are educators from a university in Accra attending a writer’s workshop at the center. They’ve watched the camps each day and want to know if Mark can bring a team to their university! They have a gym and are ready to set it up.
Tomorrow begins a new camp in all 3 locations and we are excited to see many new faces!
TUESDAY-AUG 4 Mark reports that today was absolutely beautiful; in the upper 70s and very comfortable. A few times throughout the day there would be a hint of a mist from the clouds which helped keep the energy level of the camp going for the 46 morning campers and 53 afternoon ones. There is a noticeable improvement in the fundamentals.
Mark has been impressed with Bree, Sara and Tim. They have enjoyed involving Stephen, the 17 year old Shoot 4 Life assistant, in whatever they do. Sara has taught him how to play Spoons. Now that’s the young members of the team’s favorite pastime.
Coaches Cody and Speedy report that there was really good perseverance in their coaches today. The second day of camp is often a difficult one. It’s natural to be ramped up on the first day. You’re still running on jet lag and you’re meeting new kids and there’s excitement in the air. By the second day, you’ve caught up more on your sleep and the kids know what to expect. So the coaches have to remember to keep the excitement level high.
Cody reported that there were 52 kids in the morning camp and 55 in the afternoon, the same as yesterday. He pulled out some new drills today to keep the pace moving. Since he has a high amount of repeats at Patasi, he’s mindful that the kids can be challenged at a greater level. If he saw them getting complacent, he’d pull out something they haven’t done before. He could definitely tell that the walls were coming down in the breakout sessions. There was a lot of light hearted laughter. Cody has also been impressed with Amos, a coach for Shoot 4 Life. He has been so helpful at every turn.
At KNUST, Speedy reported that 57 attended the morning camp and 33 the afternoon.
There were 2 PE teachers who saw Vincent run a camp some time ago in Tamale and inquired about the program. He told them about the camp in KNUST and invited them to come and go through the drills just as a camper would. They would become familiar with basketball and learn the drills and stations. In order to take the camp back to their region, they have to get involved and learn it. That’s been a neat thing to see.
We received word today that Vincent has malaria. He’ll have to rest Wednesday and Thursday so he can hopefully go with the teams to the coast on Friday. Mark asked Stephen if he had ever had malaria. He paused and said yes, probably 12 times. Evidently it’s very much like a bad case of the flu.
MONDAY-AUG 3 Today was a great first day for all three camp sites! Coach Mark reports that there were 40 in the morning camp and 55 in the afternoon. There could be 80% repeat campers, which means the skill level is better and they are able to handle more advanced drills. Mark is pulling out some drills he doesn’t get to use often but can challenge these kids with them. He is very pleased with his coaches who are relating well with the campers and making bonds early on.
The team was sitting in the porch area this evening debriefing the day’s events when a man walks up and asks to interrupt. They invite him to join the circle. He’s from Nigeria and is at the center attending a marriage conference with many other couples. In the breaks today, he would come outside to the court and watch intently what the teams were doing. He saw the professionalism with which the coaches led, and went around the circle and encouraged each one in the station they taught. What he saw today is the perfect tool to impact his culture. He asked Mark to please tell him how to organize the same kind of camp for soccer. He has soccer players and needs the organizational tools to run this kind of camp. Mark will contact him when he’s back in the states and share with him whatever information we have that could be helpful.
The team enjoyed a typical Ghanaian breakfast of eggs, beans and franks. Dinner was fried plantain fries, spicy chicken and rice. Mark said his lips were still burning and it was 2 hours after dinner!
The weather has been great. The high today was in the low 80’s and very comfortable. It was maybe 70 as the team sat outside in the evening.
Coach Cody at the Patasi site reported 52 kids in the morning camp and 55 in the afternoon. He is thoroughly enjoying his team too! Coach Amos with Shoot 4 Life is helping us at this location. The vans who are transporting the teams to Patasi and KNUST were late picking them up this morning, so Cody was delighted that Amos had gotten the kids all lined up by height so assigning them to teams was a breeze.
Coach Speedy shared that there were 57 in the morning camp and 30 in the afternoon at KNUST. Coach Yogi shares that they had a really great day with the kids. She writes, “The kids were so ready, not only to play ball, but to interact with all of us. It was awesome. I had some sweet girls. I talked to them about their purpose.”
Speedy worked out a plan for getting the team’s dinner meals on time. (Some waited 2 hours for their meals last night!) They place their order early and let the wait staff know they’ll be there by 7:30P for dinner. So that worked very well.
SATURDAY-AUG 1 The Ghana teams arrived safely with all the luggage in tow. Mark (6'8") and Michael (6'5") had the bulk head the whole way which made the trip so much easier. Their plane was the only one on the tarmac so going through the airport was easy. The most time consuming thing was filling out the customs form once they arrived inside the terminal because the plane didn’t have the forms.
Once they traveled the 45 minutes to Peduase and got settled in, they enjoyed a delicious dinner of chicken, rice, salad and fresh pineapple. This was the first time the whole group was together. They had a good time of sharing. There was lots of energy in the room with excited first timers.
Tomorrow they will meet with other friends in Peduase in the morning, then 2 teams will leave for Kumasi where they will hold camps all next week. Camps begin Monday morning.
Mark had told the team they had to be in their rooms with lights out at 10:30P. It was 9:45P and everyone was already gone. Tired minds, tired bodies.
FRIDAY-JULY 31 A portion of our team headed for Ghana to hold basketball camps left from Waco this afternoon and are scheduled to arrive in Accra tomorrow afternoon. They were joined at DFW by Noah Wible from Dallas and Michael Eddy from Denton. The Hammontree family from Seattle, Washington; Monty, Amy, Molly and Cameron, and Cliff McManis and son, Tim, from Cupertino, California, will join them in Accra. Falyn Scott traveled earlier this week to Accra and is waiting to join the team. All in all, there are 20 members of this team who will teach basketball skills in 3 locations. We are excited about working alongside Vincent Asamoah and the Shoot 4 Life team next week!
We are asking for safe travel for each one, for all luggage to arrive, and for health for the team as they work through jet lag.
Pictured below L-R: Cody Beeler, Chase Hill, Hudson Bradley, Case McReynolds, Yogi Aguilar, Mark Wible, Sara Neumann, Chandler Steinke, Caleb Durham, Speedy Wible and Bree Daniels.
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CLICK HERE for the photo album.
SATURDAY AUG 3 The teams arrived safely in Accra, Ghana this afternoon, although tired and ready for a shower and sleep. Unfortunately there are 7 bags that didn't arrive; 4 personal bags belonging to Shawn, Holly, Matthew & Speedy, and 3 HFH bags of balls and equipment. They have been assured the bags will arrive tomorrow, but since the airlines won't deliver to Kumasi, other arrangements will have to be made.
Both flights were uneventful. The team going through Amsterdam enjoyed the tour at the Corrie Ten Boom Museum.
The teams are spending the night at a hotel in Peduase, about 45 minutes north of the airport. Tomorrow morning after breakfast, both teams are planning to attend the gathering at 9:00A held at Hephzibah Christian Centre, the site where basketball camps will be held in Peduase. The Kumasi team will only be able to stay for a portion of the music before they head to Kumasi, a 4+ hour van ride through the countryside. The opening ceremonies for both camps, Peduase and Kumasi, begin at 4:00P, preceded with an exhibition game of the local talent at 3:00P.
Team members traveling from Houston are pictured below:
Falyn Scott (Peduase)
Kasidy Scott (Peduase)
Gayla Dwyer (Peduase)
Kellie Laine Carpenter (Kumasi)
Cody Beeler (Kumasi)
Mark Wible (Peduase)
Doug Dwyer (Peduase)
Shawn Horan (Peduase)
Team members traveling from DFW are listed below. Their pic will be shared tomorrow.
Speedy Wible (Kumasi), Mike Remus (Peduase), Holly page (Kumasi), Matthew Stevens (Kumasi), Nicho Stevens (Kumasi)
We are grateful for their safe travel and pray for a good night's rest and great day tomorrow as they adjust to the 5 hour time change and their new surroundings.
Below are pics taken at the Accra Airport.
MONDAY AUG 5 Mark’s first words to describe the day’s events were, “What a day, what a day!”
With the remainder of the luggage back at the Peduase camp site last night, Mark and Mike redistributed contents among the bags going to Kumasi. The zipper on one piece of luggage was busted (and had been duct taped) making it useless. Daniel, one of Vincent’s volunteers, took the bus at 1:30A with 5 bags headed for Kumasi.
The Peduase team began the morning with a devotional led by Mike. Since these were the first camps held at this site, they had no idea what to expect but asked for kids ready to learn.
There were 33 kids in the first camp, which was a blessing. It gave the first-time coaches a chance to get settled. The kids were divided into 4 teams. Gayla and Kasidy assisted Falyn with her team of all girls and they had a great time. The kids were so obedient and ready to learn. They worked hard through mass ball handling drills and played well during the contests. It was a great first camp.
Lunch of fish and yams with a spicy sauce was a welcome break, as well as the much-needed rest that followed.
The second camp had 54 kids, with over 20 turned away to return for camp 3 on Thursday. There were 6-8 kids on the girls’ teams, and 10-12 kids on the boys’ teams. The coaches and kids engaged well, keeping the drills and contests at a high energy level. They were having such a great time that instead of stopping at 5:00, they played until 6:20P!
Story time was great today. There’s something about hearing a large group of kids repeating that they have a purpose. The coaches had great sharing time during the breakout sessions. The kids were attentive and tuned in.
The team has connected so well, with lots of laughter. They were basketball warriors today!
They enjoyed dinner of bbq chicken, pizza, salad and French fries. And today is Doug’s birthday, so they surprised him with a birthday cake for dessert. It was a great first day in Peduase.
Meanwhile in Kumasi… they were thrilled to get the remainder of their luggage first thing this morning. Cody led the team in a devotion and challenged the team to run the race to win the prize, not just to run. Little did he know his team would need to hold this in their hearts to meet today’s challenges.
Each year Vincent runs the camps, he holds the size to 50 kids (roughly) to teach the kids the discipline of following through with registration. Now that he’s in Peduase with a team, Amos is running the camps in Kumasi. He has a hard time saying no to kids who just show up to play, even though they have not registered. Today in the first camp, 69 kids showed up! The team was prepared for 50, so with the addition of 19, they had to increase the size of teams. And scramble they did. But they were outstanding. The coaches adjusted to the larger teams and connected well with the kids.
During the lunch break, they discussed what changes would have to be made if the afternoon camp was that large. They knew they would increase the 5 teams/5 coaches to 6 teams.
As the afternoon camp began, they started with mass ball handling. Every time Cody would look up, there were new kids around him asking to be placed on a team. So teams would be redistributed. Then they would start the next phase, only to see 7, 8, maybe 9 kids coming to the court. The court is open on all sides, so there’s no good way to control the number of kids joining the players. They had reached their peak of 14-15 on each team when he looked around again to see 10 girls standing at one end, asking to play. They told Amos if he wanted to let them join the camp, then he and 2 other local coaches would have to take a team. They wound up with 98 kids in the afternoon camp, 7 teams, and 9 coaches! Cody stepped up and not only ran the camp but took a station as well. They were running the race… to win the prize!
The coaches did a bang-up job with the kids, not only on the court but in breakout sessions. Speedy did a great job in story time.
What a great first day!
We are grateful to everyone who had a part in building the court in Kumasi and those who served as coaches in the last 2 years of camps. The seeds that were planted have grown into an abundant harvest.
Vincent is totally stoked! He came off staff of an outreach organization on Aug 1 and began full time ministry with Shoot 4 Life, a ministry he formed to reach kids through basketball. This huge success in Kumasi is a solid affirmation to him.
Last night, the team decided to visit one of their favorite restaurants from last year for pizza. Some ordered pepperoni pizza, which is very different from what we know. Instead of pepperoni, they use something like hot links, so for some the pizza was so hot, they had to eat just the bread. Cody enjoyed it even though his mouth was on fire with each bite. Lunch is provided for the Kumasi team at the church where they hold camps. Today it was spaghetti, although it more closely resembled a meat/noodle stir-fry and was delicious. They decided to go for local food for dinner; fufu (made from creamed yams and served in balls in soup) and peanut butter soup.
Both the Peduase and Kumasi teams have interesting experiences with the water in their rooms. In Peduase, the guys have no cold water, and have resorted to disconnecting the hot water heater for hours each day until the water is not too hot. In Kumasi, the guys have only cold water and look forward to a hot shower promised in a day or two.
The weather has been great; cool mornings (jackets worn by some) and upper 70’s to low 80’s during the day.
Please ask for
- continued great connections between the kids and coaches
- strength and health for the coaches to continue this fast paced and full schedule
- the hearts of the campers to be open to the truth shared each day
- continued great weather
TUESDAY AUG 6 Mark began the update while sitting outside on the court dimly lit with a single street light. He was so excited to share what was going on. It was 10:00P their time. There was a light breeze blowing. It was maybe in the low 70’s; no bugs in sight. Very pleasant. I could hear the sound of basketballs bouncing in the background and voices speaking in rhythm. This was 4 Ghanaian workers; the night watchman at the camp site and 3 grounds keepers. They had watched the camps each day and were going through the drills. What I heard was the rhythm of 3-2-1, a stationary ball dribbling drill done with a partner. They kept at it, making improvements with each turn. They had been diligently working these drills for over 2 and a half hours! They remembered other drills they had seen in camp and went through as much as they could. Most of the coaches were back on the court with these 4 by now, giving instructions and participating in the drills. The workers even asked if they could go through the camps starting on Thursday, even though they were in their mid 20’s and mid 40’s!
Vincent was thrilled to share about a man who was attending a conference there at the Peduase campsite. He had watched the camps in progress from the sidelines and was intrigued. He approached Vincent saying he and others had been diligently looking for a way to reach the youth of their country of Togo (east of Ghana) and asked if Vincent would be willing to bring this program to his country. Another door opened!
The Peduase and Kumasi camps were fantastic again today. They had the same number of kids as yesterday (with the exception of 2 who were sick at Peduase). The energy level was high. The kids had a better idea of how camps would run today and with a better understanding of the drills and contests were anxious to learn. Team time was great. The bond between coach and camper is developing quickly.
In the Kumasi camps, Cody is seeing Vincent’s vision of ministry at work. He trains the campers from the first year to assist the younger ones in the next year's camps. With each passing camp, the more experienced campers are learning to help those who were struggling and need help. This year, some older kids volunteered to assist by bringing water to the players on the court and gathering basketballs when camp was over.
Please remember our request for
- both camps tomorrow at 6:00A and 11:00A (our time) when the Truth is shared
- hearts to be open and hungry to hear
- continued health and strength for the coaches as they lead the fast paced camps
- continued great weather
Hopefully I’ll have some pics of the Kumasi team to share tomorrow. They are planning to take a team shot in the morning and send our way.
WEDNESDAY AUG 7 The Peduase team began the morning with a devotional led by Gayla. She challenged the team to focus on the day and keep their eyes on the prize. They had a great time in community talking over the events of the day.
The last day of camps is always filled with mixed emotions. There is a sense of accomplishment over hard work paying off with visible improvement, a bond that has developed over their time together that is not easy to leave behind, and anticipation of what will be done in the hearts of the kids. This one was no different.
After the morning session was over, Mark sat the campers down and shared with them about the meaning of life. Afterwards, the coaches broke into small groups with the campers where they shared their personal story. The kids were so attentive. The youth leader of the fellowship there in Peduase gave the invitation to the kids who were gathered again. Two kids are now walking in truth. Several kids were challenged to reexamine their lives. Were they growing as teens who can make a difference in the world around them? Many of the kids who were in the Peduase camp are part of the young community that began 3 years ago and meets at the HCC camp site.
The afternoon camp did not run as smoothly. The campers were distracted and it was more difficult to keep their attention. There were 50-60 folks watching on the sidelines, including parents (a welcome sight). Mark sat the campers down and shared with them. The message was not to count on your own goodness. He held the campers’ attention when it had been difficult to do all afternoon. The youth leader gave the invitation and again, 2 kids raised their hand to learn more! Several answered the challenge to be responsible for their lives; responsible to grow and share with others.
Throughout the day, the campers and coaches enjoyed their time together with lots of laughter and high fives. Many asked if they could come back to camp 3 on Thursday and Friday. If there’s room, they are welcome to go through it again.
The assistant director at HCC has 2 kids who attended camp. Three days ago they had no interest at all in basketball. Now that they have gone through 3 days of camps, they are so excited to tell what they have learned they will even demonstrate the drills without a ball in their hands! They can’t stop talking about their newly discovered sport.
The Peduase camp is the first in this location and is more focused on challenging the kids. Having 3 young coaches as powerful role models on this team showed the campers that it is cool to be a who they were created to be.
The team was excited to go shopping for souvenirs today during their lunch break. It was good to go into town.
The Kumasi team’s day 3 was full of emotion too saying goodbye to the kids. Their teams were made up of 11-15 kids, the most in our history of camps in Kumasi. After Speedy shared with the whole camp and the coaches shared with their teams, Amos, Vincent’s partner in community, spoke to the campers in their language. This was a challenge to examine their lives. The leadership of the community decided to make the last talk at the closing ceremony on Friday. The thought of not only campers hearing the Truth but the parents as well is exciting.
Cody and Speedy noticed again today how Vincent was raising up leaders; the older kids are being trained to help the younger ones. They saw multi generational families with each one lending a helping hand.
The lack of hot water is still an issue in Cody & Speedy’s room. Many locals have come in to check it out. They would turn a knob or flip a switch sure this would fix the problem, but it didn’t. So the guys have given in to taking a hot shower in the other’s room.
Please remember our request for
• Camp 3 that begins tomorrow, for a new set of kids
• Strength for the coaches; their bodies and voices are tired
• Energy to build new relationships, learn names, keep the excitement high
THURSDAY AUG 8 The day for the team in Peduase began with the same breakfast they have every morning, but still delicious; scrambled eggs, oatmeal, cereal, baked beans, fresh pineapple and watermelon. The pineapple is fantastic!
The camp began at 8:30A. When the team arrived, they found a very polite 23 year old man named Rudolph who had been playing since 6:30A! He plays at the university and joined the campers today.
There were only 63 basketballs left, so the count had to cut off at that number. The dynamics were different today. There was more of a language barrier and often Vincent and Daniel were needed to translate instructions. The larger number of team members on the small court made it more difficult to maneuver around without bumping into one another. It was 85 degrees and sunny. With Camp 3 being both the morning and afternoon sessions, from 8:30A-5:00P, the kids didn’t have a day to rest in between. There was an hour and 45 minute break for lunch, but as soon as the kids were fed, they wanted to play again. They chose not to rest and ran out of steam in the afternoon. They ran out of water too.
Having easy camps the first 3 days of the week was needed to help the new coaches become accustomed to the camping environment. So where the first 2 camps were more focused on discipleship, this one will be marked with affirmation.
The age range today was 7 years old to… 35! Yes, one father came with his child and asked to go through the camp with the older team. He went through the drills and contests in his dress shoes, working on everything his teammates did. And 2 of the workers who had been practicing after camps in the evenings joined the teams too. The groups gelled, cheering each other on.
Mark was reminded of Frankie, a youth who attended camp on the Texas border. He was uncooperative all through the week, but on the last day there was a radical change in his heart.
When a coach would encourage a camper saying they did a great job, the other campers would immediately begin with, “Sir, watch me, look at me; Madam, watch me.” This is a great opportunity to show them love and affection. Mark encouraged the team to lay hands on these young ones and speak into their lives, encouraging them to keep trying. The coaches are excited to minister to camp 3 participants in a very different way than the other camps.
The team has enjoyed fried chicken and rice, salad and fresh fruit for lunch and
dinner each day. And a special treat given to the campers during the break each day is hot chocolate and biscuits. It was mentioned that it seemed strange to drink hot chocolate in the heat of the day, but how is that any different that Americans drinking hot coffee in the summer? When you put it that way…
The Kumasi camp 3 was large too with 66 kids. There were many repeats from last year which was fun to see. These campers generally were more skilled and took training more seriously. The ages are roughly 7-15, similar to what they have been in camps 1 & 2.
Closing ceremonies for all 3 camps begin tomorrow at 11:00A (6:00A our time). The leader of the host site for these camps will speak to approximately 233 kids and their parents! Then each child will be presented with their basketball and certificate of participation. What an exciting close to a productive week!
The Kumasi team noticed the missing cloud cover. The sun was hot and they felt it. They did enjoy going to Doreen’s shop today and were happy with their treasures.
After camps are over in Peduase and Kumasi tomorrow, the teams will travel to the coast for a good night’s rest.
Please remember our request for
- Receptive hearts during tomorrow’s presentation at 5:15A our time
- Tired bodies but excited hearts
- Continued good weather
- Safe travels to the coast for both teams
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CLICK HERE for the photo album.
FRIDAY AUG 10 Mark called today from the Ivory Coast while sitting on the patio of the resort restaurant. It was dark already, and the sound of waves was crashing to the beach in the background. It was a peaceful end to a wonderful day.
Oatmeal, omelets, baked beans and hot chocolate made for another good breakfast. Then it was off to the last session of the last camp. The sun came out early in the morning and the team thought it would be the first hot day they would experience. But 10 minutes before camp started, clouds blocked the sun and the weather was again perfect.
They started off by taking team pics. Mark’s voice was still tired, so he asked Brad to run the mass ball handling in the morning camp. He did a great job and Mark was glad to have these assistants! The kids were excited to be there today and worked well through the drills.
While camp was going on, Mark and Vincent went into the chapel to prepare for the closing ceremony. They prepared 130 basketballs and all the metals and certificates for presentation.
The Ghana National Broadcasting Company was there to video the ceremony. They also interviewed Mark and Vincent. They were wondering why a team would care enough to come all the way from America and spend so much money to teach their kids basketball skills. They asked what was so special about these Ghanaian children. Mark was thrilled to be able to share the Hoops for Hope vision, which is to come alongside an established organization to offer basketball training with a message of the hope. This local organization would then follow up with the children who make a commitment to a virtuous life and integrate them into their community fellowship. In other words, we are coming alongside Vincent to bolster his vision to change his country by changing the children. They are the future leaders. Mark also shared that our country is praying for their country in their time of mourning. The funeral for their former president was today.
The kids gathered in the chapel after their drills training. They were very receptive and listened well. Many kids were presented with medals for first place, second place and/or coaches’ choice. Every camper was presented with their HFH basketball and a certificate of participation. It was a big deal! Then one girl came forward in tears. She had been in Camp 1 but didn’t receive a certificate. It was an oversight that was corrected immediately. They made a special presentation to her and she was thrilled.
At the end of the presentations, Mark shared that they had one more to make. See, it was Pat Kekic’s birthday today. The team had all secretly signed a birthday card for Pat. He was presented with the card as the kids cheered. Then they all sang Happy Birthday. Afterwards, 75 campers +/- came forward and signed his card. (It was a typical sized card, so I’d love to see what it looks like now!) He was also presented with a birthday cake at lunch. What a birthday memory!
Coaches were presented with HFH t-shirts and sack packs. After the ceremony was over, they brought their sack packs to the team coaches and asked each one to sign them. They also asked for wrist bands, one of each color. The camera crew asked for sack packs and wrist bands of each color as well. The team spent 45 minutes saying good bye to the kids, including taking many pictures. The kids cheered and waved as the team drove away.
It was quite the celebration.
A few hours later, the team arrived in Accra. They checked into the resort and walked along the beach. After dinner, they will rest until bedtime. They’ll sleep in. Around 9:30A they’ll tour the slave fort, where 90% of the slaves coming to America were housed waiting for transport. It’s quite sobering.
Thank you all for your talks with the Father for such a successful camp! The team felt His hand on their lives at every turn. But don’t stop. Please talk with Him about continued health and rest for the team, for those who made commitments to be nurtured and grow into men and women of character, and for travel mercies as they leave tomorrow night for their trek back to Waco.
THURSDAY AUG 9 The day started with breakfast of fried eggs, baked beans, toast and porridge… the breakfast of champions (smile). After team time, it was off to start the third camp.
There were 37 kids in Camp 3 today. They were eager to learn and worked hard in the morning, but by the time the afternoon rolled around, everyone was tired. There was only an hour break in between camps, so coaches and campers ate lunch of chicken and fried rice together onsite. The team had a hard time coming from camps where the kids had learned so much and worked diligently through the stations to starting over with kids who knew little or nothing about basketball. They made the switch and coached well. Mark’s voice was going out, so Cody ran the afternoon camp and did a great job.
The camp schedule today was such that the team was done earlier than the first part of the week. It was nice for them to be back at the hotel early for some needed rest.
Please continue to remember the team as they push hard through each day; for Vincent who went home sick after the last camp; and for the kids who will hear the challenge to pursue and embrace what their life is all about.
Tomorrow will be a big day. After the morning session of camp 3, all 3 camps will gather for the celebration. Everyone will be presented with their 1st place, 2nd place, and coaches’ award medals, HFH basketball, and certificate of participation in the camps. The local
TV station will be there to film the event. It’s an exciting culmination to a week of hard work. After lunch, the team will head for the coast to spend the night.
WEDNESDAY AUG 8 Here's the update for today from the leader of a very happy team! It was another perfect day of the upper 70's with a light mist and cloud cover throughout the day.
They started out with a breakfast of boiled eggs, baked beans and a treat; hot chocolate. The team time was a great time of bonding. They encouraged and spoke truth over each other for effectiveness with every aspect of their interaction with the kids today. They wanted what they shared with the kids to point them to the way.
Camps began with team pics. That's always a fun part of the last day of camp, getting everyone organized in rows, facing the same way. (The pics will be posted on our website next week once the team returns with them.)
The country of Ghana is in a state of mourning over the loss of their president who died just a few days before our team left for camp. Today when the team got to the camp site, some local coaches expressed their gratitude for wearing the color their new president had asked everyone to wear today to honor their former president. It was red. Our team wore their red t-shirts and navy/white basketball shorts, just following the schedule provided to them so they would all dress in the same team colors each day. How neat to hear that the Father cares about even the little things like the colors our team wore today, blessing those they went to minister to!
Mark worked with Cody to lead today, watching the time and keeping the stations moving. He was good at blowing the whistle! Everyone was fired up today.
There were 49 kids in the morning camp and 29 in the afternoon. Some morning campers are staying for the afternoon camp because they enjoy it so much.
In the latter part of each camp, they gathered the kids and went through the lessons they had been learning this week, including I have a PURPOSE, I am special, and I have a PLAN. The coaches and campers said these statements aloud. Then Mark shared today's theme; I have a PLACE. They broke into small groups with the coaches, who were thrilled to be able to share with the kids about their own lives. They shared how the decisions they’ve made have shaped their lives. When they all gathered again, Vincent shared a message that was clear and precise. There were 30-35 who wanted to know more!
We hope the team will settle back down to earth after such a thrilling day!
Tomorrow is the beginning of camp 3. Instead of having the campers every morning or afternoon for 3 days, they will have them for a morning and afternoon tomorrow and the morning of Friday. We trust that they will bond well with the new campers who will know very little if anything about the game.
We ask for the team to stay strong and healthy. There is typically a 2-3 hour lunch break, giving the team a much needed break. Tomorrow's camp will be 9:00-12:00A and 1:00-4:00P with a quick lunch together on site. They are all so excited! The team has bonded so very well.
The Asamoah Family joined the team for a special lunch of fried chicken, french fries and salad at the Bus Station Cafe. Dinner was spaghetti.
Here's a side note to end with. Last week we received an email from Joseph Donkor Appiah, a youth leader at a community center in Ghana. He wrote: I got to know your site through a friend. I find your program to be very educative and a very effective way to help groom the youth of today to be better people in future. I will be very glad if your team can one season visit my youth group to help propagate the good word while learning how to play basketball. Hoping to hear from you. Thank you. ~Joseph
We learned that he is from Kumasi as well, so we put Joseph and Vincent in touch with each. When Mark asked Vincent today if he was able to touch base with Joseph, he said that he had. He had forgotten to mention it but 20 of the kids in Camp 1 were from Joseph's community center! He had forgotten to introduce Joseph to Mark and team as well! Guess he had a lot on his mind.
TUESDAY AUG 7 The day started with a good breakfast of an omelet, beans and toast. They arrived at the court around 8:30A and got ready for the kids.
There were 49 kids in the morning camp. The coaches taught new team building drills and the kids really worked hard to learn them. The contests were fun again today, now that the campers have learned about this being a competition. Everyone worked well together and enjoyed the camp.
Lunch today was Red Red, a popular Ghanaian dish. It’s black eyed peas served with fried chicken (no crust) and fried plantains. The team ate lunch with the local coaches, 12 who work alongside our team to learn and help the campers. They speak English well, so there was good interaction.
They shopped in Doreen’s shop filled with homemade items. She makes some of it and purchases some from vendors. The team bought many gifts to bring home. It was great to bless our host and hostess by purchasing so much from them.
The afternoon camp started with 28 kids today, 3 who were in the morning camp and wanted to go through it again. There was one girl who was too scared to participate yesterday, so she stayed on the side and watched her sister go through the camp. After seeing how welcoming and patient the coaches were, she joined in today and had a blast. The teams and campers worked hard and had a great time.
The team had dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant where they enjoyed a typical chicken dish. Two of Vincent’s kids went along with them which was a treat. The team was tickled at the many times they hear the answer, “Yes, please.”