July 20, 2019 - July 26, 2019| $5,000
Speedy Wible reports from Ghana: Greetings from Ghana. The Hoops team has made it to Accra where we were met by Vincent Asamoah of Shoot for Life, our hosts for the week. We arrived with all luggage! That is an answer to prayer. Thank you for praying in faith!
We met the FCA team that is also participating with Shoot for Life this week in the Amsterdam airport and began getting acquainted.
We are spending the night in Accra and will meet our host and friends before making the trip to Kumasi. Sunday afternoon will be spent preparing for camps that begin on Monday.
Pray for coaches and campers alike, that our time together learning basketball and sharing in life lessons will be profitable and rewarding. Please pray for safety for all. Oh yes, and please pray for favorable weather. We have a chance for rain all week.
Thanks for partnering with us.
Team members are: Kristy Beck, Preston Bradley, George Brinegar, Sam Glenn, Evan Hardin, Rachael Reddy, Lynn Reinbolt, and Speedy Wible (leader).
The trip from Accra to Kumasi was eye opening for our first time coaches. It is difficult to explain how a 100 mile trip takes four to five hours on the highway. You just have to experience it.
We took lunch at a hotel on the outskirts of Kumasi. Fried rice is a staple of Ghanaian cuisine and lots of fried rice was eaten. We introduced Sam to Alvaro (a carbonated fruit drink). He wasn’t impressed.
We said our goodbyes to the Kentucky team after dropping them off at their hotel. Our work site is across town and we are staying near the court where we are teaching.
We checked into out hotel and then went to the court to prepare for the beginning of camps tomorrow. Preston and Evan scouted the court and made recommendations about how to set up camp. Sam, Rachael, Kristy, George and Lynn took on the task of blowing up 100 basketballs! We got organized and we are ready for the adventure to begin.
We ended our day around the dinner table back at the hotel. The food was good and we had the chance to talk through the day tomorrow. Preston closed our day with an encouragement about training up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. He reminded us that we are here to support Shoot for Life and their desire to change the culture of a nation by changing a generation.
We appreciate your partnership with us.
First Day of Camp! We started our day with a traditional Ghana breakfast: watermelon and pineapple followed by toast, an omelet, Ghana’s version of breakfast sausage links, and cold port and beans. (Kristy says that the cold beans must be the British influence.), instant coffee and Milo to drink. Preston describes Milo as a cross between hot chocolate and an energy drink, drunk hot. Then we headed off for the short 5 minute ride to the court.
No matter how many times I participate in Hoops camps, I am always amazed that the first day of camp is always chaotic and fun. It goes by in a whirlwind of activity and new kids. And today did not disappoint. What a day it was. I have received reports that there were children on the court at 6:00AM in order to make sure they had a spot in the camp. In both morning and afternoon sessions, we had to turn people away after the first 50 had registered for each camp.
The morning session had wonderful cloudy skies with a light breeze. The campers worked hard learning the routine for the day. Coaches did a great job of teaching the basketball fundamentals to the campers. Sam and George are working really well together and Sam is finding his role as a coach and teacher. Rachael is totally in charge of the agility station, working towards having athletic footwork as a fundamental of basketball. Evan and Preston and Lynn are manning the dribbling, offensive moves and shooting stations. Kristy started the day without a goal at which to teach rebounding. She was flexible in her approach to teaching the fundamentals of rebounding and by the start of the second camp, a portable goal was delivered and set up for use.
During team time we talked about discovering the purpose for your life. As each coach took their group to a spot on the court for the coaches to have the opportunity to share with their group about how they discover and maintain their purpose, most of the campers in the morning session were not very engaged in the discussion. The afternoon group time seemed to yield more discussion for some coaches.
Speaking of the afternoon session – oh my goodness, we had two hours of beautiful sunshine. The downside to the sunshine was that it sapped energy from both campers and coaches alike. But with abundant grace, the campers worked hard at the various drills and contests. We could see progress in the basketball skills of many of the campers, even after just one day of camp.
We are tired after our first full day. We are blessed to have a good restaurant at the hotel. Dinner and a good night’s rest will take us a long way toward being refreshed and ready for tomorrow.
Thank you for partnering with us.
We got to the court and were excited to start the second day of camp. Campers were waiting when we arrived.
Oh my goodness. I think every partner asked for a nice cloudy day. And, my oh my, did we have one! Problem with that is that all of the clouds had rain in them from about 8:00 AM until noon. We started camp at 8:00 AM in a slight drizzle. By 9:00 AM campers and coaches alike were drenched to the bone. And then the slight drizzle turned to a steady drizzle. It would slack off for a few minutes and we would hope that the skies were clearing. But the rain continued all morning.
We had to make adjustments in the schedule because some of the drills were not safe to do on the slick concrete court. Interestingly, basketballs make a peculiar sound when dribbled into a puddle of standing water. All but two of yesterday’s students were back in the rain ready to learn.
Coaches and campers alike wanted to power through the morning and no one complained. We played Last Second Hero to end the morning and as usual, it was a big hit.
We did go inside to a large classroom to do team time so that we could sit down on dry plastic chairs. In today’s team time topic, we discussed the importance following the plan for our lives. Part of the discussion revolves around the problems created when we don’t follow the plan. The coaches reported that the campers were very focused during the discussion.
During our time between camps, we changed out of our wet clothes and took lunch at a local “fast food” place. They serve pizza and hamburgers as well as local dishes. It has become our go-to lunch spot. It was fun to see Kristy reconnect with Vincent’s daughter Amma. Kristy and Amma were classmates in elementary school when Vincent was at grad school in Waco. They had 10+ years to catch up on, and took full advantage of their time.
The rain stopped during the break between camps. By the time the second camp started, the court was about 90% dry.
Camp 2 didn’t have any of the challenges of today’s morning camp. A dry court and partly cloudy skies made an ideal setting for day two, Camp 2. Campers were eager to learn basketball and we worked quickly through many of the drills we introduced yesterday, adding new drills to challenge them and keep them motivated to strive to be the best they can be. We ended our basketball time playing Last Second hero. It was equally as big a success in Camp 2 as it was in Camp 1. And the campers were on their feet when the coaches took their turn. Props to Sam and Rachael for making layups, and to Preston for pulling up at the 3 point line and draining a 3.
All of the coaches have been intentionally engaged with the campers. I can see that the campers are beginning to allow walls to be broken down and are opening up to the coaches.
At dinner we talked through our day, enjoying hearty Ghanaian cooking. We end the day under partly cloudy skies and a cool breeze. Believe it or not, it is cooler in this part of Africa than it is in Texas at this time of the year.
Blessings from Ghana!
Hump Day! Rachael started both camps by leading the campers in 10 minutes of dynamic stretching. I gave the girl a whistle and she took over the court. She had the campers moving through a series of exercises. It was awesome to see them following her instructions. Great job, coach Rachael!
In a five day camp, Wednesday is “fun day”. We take a break from the normal camp routine and play some games and do some drills that utilize the specific skills that we have introduced or sought to hone. The campers got into the spirit of competition and tried their best to out play each other. The normal sounds of basketballs being dribbled on a concrete court were interspersed with the sounds of campers cheering for each other’s success as games were played and competitions waged. Money Goal was a huge hit, and the kids always love playing knock out. The competition was fierce.
Each camp was down 4-6 participants today. In the morning camp we had nice cloudy skies with a bit of a breeze – quite a change of pace from yesterday’s rainy morning. The afternoon was sunny, but not brutal. We were thankful that it didn’t rain. There is a 50% chance of rain tomorrow, and a 90% chance of rain for Friday.
Today we talked about the Part there is for each of us to play. Group discussions seemed more involved, from my perspective. Coaches challenged the campers to find their place at home, at school, and with their friends.
We are all tired but in good health. Thanks for your interest.
Breakfast has been fresh fruit (watermelon and pineapple) followed by an omelet, bread (not toast) and a mystery meat sausage (we haven’t wanted to ask!). Oh yes, and cold beans were back on the table this morning, after making a brief disappearance.
We had 45 returning campers by the time the morning camp started. We ran quickly through the ball handling exercises to get everyone’s juices flowing and then had our last round of competitions. The campers are divided by age with each coach having 8-10 campers. We have kept score all week as individual team members compete against each other for first and second place. Each coach also gives a “Coaches Award” for the camper that had the best attitude, or worked the hardest, or best exemplified the values of Hoops for Hope. So competition was fierce for points on the final day of competition.
We also did a full round of station work. Sam and George stepped the passing station up with more complicated passing drills and the campers responded well. Coach Bones added more wrinkles to the shooting station. Rachael had the campers working on their footwork at the agility ladder, adding the element of dribbling. She was amazed at how well the campers did with the ball in their hands. Two days of reinforcing proper footwork paid dividends when the element of the ball was introduced. Kristy continued to build on the rebounding fundamentals, challenging them to be explosive in their going up for the rebound, and adding various footwork techniques for taking an offensive rebound back up to score. Preston tested the campers offensive moves with shooting competitions. Evan added the element of tossing a tennis ball while dribbling and ended his station with dribble knock out.
In the large group setting we worked on jump stops and pivots. It is amazing to see kids that had no idea what a pivot or a jump stop was on Monday, today performing them well. Other full court drills were reinforced with practice today. And our basketball session ended with game type simulation drills.
During the break between the two camps, we got our “fast food” to go and drove to a local market to shop. Following the second camp, we went to eat at a Chinese food restaurant with our Ghanaian counterparts who have been working with us all week. The fellowship around the table was filled with laughter and good conversation.
Upon arrival at the hotel, we had to tally scores from today and fill out certificates of participation that are given to each camper.
We are hoping for nice weather tomorrow, although there is a good chance of rain. Fortunately today was dry with cloudy skies and a cool breeze.
At the end of the day, we are tired but looking forward to a short version of both camps and a closing ceremony.
Thank you for partnering with us in our Ghana adventure.
We awoke knowing that the week of camps was ending today. The last day of camp is bittersweet, knowing that it will be time to say “goodbye” to new friends, but having memories of experiences shared both on the court and in small group time.
We took breakfast at our normal time (7:00AM). The watermelon and pineapple have been wonderful each day. Most of us have tired of eggs, mystery meat, and cold beans (which did not reappear today). We loaded our bags on the bus and headed to the court. We ran shortened camps this morning getting the fifth session in for both camps. It is always amazing for us to see the basketball progress made from Monday to Friday. Coach Rachael led the group in a quick review of the dynamic stretching that we had introduced on Wednesday, and Coach Kristy led mass ball handling. We ran through a shortened session of stations, reinforcing the things that we had taught during the week. Our final basketball events were Money Goal and Last Second Hero. These two were the big hit with the campers. At one point in Last Second Hero, the boys hit six shots in a row – bound to be a first for our camps in Ghana. Props to Evan, Preston, George, Sam, and Bones for coaching them up! Oh, and it should be noted that Kristy’s girls’ team won Money Goal in the second camp, with Coach Bones boys winning it in the first camp. Coach Rachael’s little kids spent a lot of time at the Money Goal, getting knocked out just before the end in camp 2.
We recounted our lessons from the week, and ended our time talking about the Power we have been given to live a purposeful life. Coaches shared their own story.
After camp, Shoot for Life held a closing ceremony. Songs were sung, drums were played, medals were awarded for the top finishers in the competitions, and certificates and balls were handed out. Goodbyes were said and pictures were taken.
Our counterparts from FCA Kentucky had ended their camps yesterday and were on site for the second camp session. Following the closing ceremony, both teams piled on the bus and left for the coast. It is nearly impossible to describe driving in Ghana, you just have to experience it. There are speed limit signs, but you can hardly drive the limit due to the traffic, the road conditions, and the fact that every hamlet and village along the road has a speed bump to make sure that traffic slows down. When I say speed bump, I’m talking a concrete estrus turn that is a good 6′ wide and 6″-10″ tall, all the way across the road. They are very effective in reducing the speed of the traffic. We arrived around 7:00 PM to the sounds of crashing waves and the smell of the sea. Awesome! Dinner at the restaurant was eaten in the open air dining area, with the sounds of the sea and a cool breeze our companions. Fellowship around the table was sweet, with many stories and life experiences shared among the two teams.
Tomorrow we will have a leisurely morning, tour the slave castle, and head to the airport to begin our homeward journeys. Our flight leaves Accra around 10:30 PM.
Thank you for holding us up this week.