BROCKVILLE, June 4, 2019 — Over 25 children packed the hallways and gymnasium of a Brockville, Ont. high school last Saturday, as the Toronto-based National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program, also known as the NBYMP, hosted their first Workshop of the year. In what will become an annual occurrence, the NBYMP returned to Brockville for the second straight year with bigger aspirations and a larger reach. This year, the Workshop was held in collaboration with the Brockville Blazers Basketball Association and Matt Reil, the athletic coordinator of St. Mary Catholic High School, who hosted the entire workshop.
“I’ve been to a lot of basketball camps and this one is amazing, it’s by far one of the best ones I’ve ever seen,” Reil said. “It’s not just about getting the money from the kids or saying, ‘here’s a ball and here’s how to shoot,’ it’s not just about the basketball, it’s more about life skills and taking care of kids in their mental health.”
NBYMP also offers their services to other organizations to promote healthy living through basketball and an active lifestyle. Although the NBYMP’s Workshop was held on Saturday, the program and its coaches also assisted Reil in the 15th anniversary of his Crusader courtside basketball clinic, which took place Friday. But what made this workshop so special? The young athletes weren’t simply expected to develop their basketball skills. The NBYMP offers a holistic approach to the development of young basketball players, both on and off the court. As a result, the day featured a number of activities designed to offer just what their namesake describes—mentorship.
Saturday commenced with an exciting introduction of the six coaches leading the day’s festivities. Afterwards, the children were treated to their first taste of mentorship, through a sport psychology seminar led by professional mental performance consultant Connor Primeau.
The children then split up to either practice basketball on the court or study financial literacy, alternating throughout the afternoon. The financial literacy seminar, held by the NBYMP’s own mentor and coach, Nathaniel Gardner, covered many aspects of finance such as how to earn money for the younger children and how to invest for the older children.
The rest of the day was all about on-court basketball development, with the children refining their skills and playing some key games against each other. To top the day off, the players got a professional athlete’s experience, with their very own professional photoshoot.
Brockville may have a small population, but basketball has won the hearts of many of the community’s kids. The Brockville Blazers stand tall as the main basketball program for developing youth basketball players. As Reil said, the town doesn’t get a lot of basketball camps. For parents, like Jill Andress, whose two daughters participated in the workshop, they are grateful for the NBYMP’s annual visit. “I think it’s a huge opportunity for both girls of their age,” Andress said. “I think the mentorship is important and to have those conversations with the kids at this age is a good opportunity for them to think bigger scale and to shoot for higher achievements.” And for the children, what’s not to like? 11-year-old Victoria Ford says she loves how much learning she’s done off the court during the workshop. “I love this camp it’s one of my favourites,” Ford said. “All the people here are really nice. We talked about a lot of things in basketball that you’re going to need in life and they talked about your strengths and what you need to work on.” The NBYMP will be back in Brockville from July 29 to Aug. 1 to deliver a new camp in collaboration with Nike Sports Camps. You can register today by going to www.nbymp.ca.