KINGSTON, July 22, 2019 — A Toronto-based youth basketball mentorship program made the trip out to Kingston this weekend for a two-day Workshop at St. Lawrence College. The National Basketball Youth Mentorship Program (NBYMP) is a youth basketball program that takes a holistic approach to offer mentorship to youth. Not only do they promise on-court development, but they also aim to teach valuable off-court life lessons that can be vital to a child’s maturation. The Workshop, one of many in their summer circuit across Ontario, drew 35 young athletes to the gymnasiums of St. Lawrence College bright and early on Saturday morning. The Workshop was led by a roster full of former professional basketball players and coaches, as well as some former and current St. Lawrence College athletes. These individuals, dubbed “mentors,” helped guide the youth using vigorous on-court basketball training activities to not only improve their basketball skills, but to also relate it back to ways to improve their daily lives. The Workshop also included a handful of learning opportunities off the court. Mental Performance Consultant, Naomi Zitt- James, led a sports psychology seminar in which she helped teach the aspiring athletes ways to channel their pressures into focus both on and off the court. Financial Advisor and mentor Nathaniel Gardner also led a financial literacy seminar, teaching the children how to earn, save and invest their money as they move forward in life. As well, Jason Melhado, the head strength and conditioning coach for St. Lawrence College and one of the stength coaches within Canada Basketball, led a nutrition seminar for the children. The workshop wrapped up with a professional photoshoot for the athletes so they can feel like an NBA player on media day. Finally, awards were handed out, courtesy of the Toronto Raptors, to conclude the weekend.
Impacting the lives of children is always the goal for the NBYMP. Mentor Nathaniel Gardner believes that was accomplished this weekend.
“There’s a lot of life lessons that were being taught here,” Gardner said. “The NBYMP is great because it’s not about being known for the on court stuff but also the mentorship through basketball and really fostering young men and women.”Mentor Jamil Abiad, who led the on court instructions this weekend, recalls a specific memory where one athlete successfully performed a new move that was taught during a scrimmage, illustrating the ability to help these children grow. “The smile after they scored and the move worked is what made my weekend,” Abiad said. The Workshop in Kingston was wildly successful, giving the NBYMP hopes to return next summer. “What I found special about the community in Kingston is how close they all seemed to be and were ready to help one another,” Abiad said. “Each kid was engaged and always looking forward to the next drill or thing on the schedule, it was amazing.” The NBYMP is headed to Scarborough, Ont. next for a Workshop at Centennial College on July 27-28 featuring pro athlete Nick Wiggins (bother of NBA standout Andrew Wiggins) and NBA vet Andrew Nicholson.