Kazakhstan Blog Post #6

Drive Open Camp

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This week was the final week of the Drive summer season. It was a true finisher – 6 days, 9AM-6PM every day, 70+ kids. We were already on fumes coming in, but we had to give a final push. This was our opportunity to coach some new kids and make a lasting impression on them. It was also the camp nearly 75% of them had been waiting for all year long (based on a hand-raising survey conducted on the first day of camp)!

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We created four “leagues” – NBA, Euroleague (which Chris was commissioner of), NCAA, and National League. The ages ranged from 10 – 20 years old and for most of the week, we utilized not only the main gym, but a tennis court turned basketball facility, and a small gym barely the size of one half court. We also acquired four other coaches – two American brothers and two local guys who are the upcoming faces of Kazakhstan basketball. Without these crucial additions, I don’t think we would have survived!

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Each day had roughly the same feel, with stations in the morning, a long lunch, and game time in the afternoon. Throughout the week, we tried to instill our core values as we did in the Girls’ Camp – team, integrity, discipline, responsibility, sacrifice and love. The difference this week was each day one league would have to do a skit to represent the “value of the day.” Intriguing was not only the performances, but more so the way in which each league interacted with each other while in the process of putting the skit together. About 85% of them spoke Russian, while some of the American kids that attended camp were only able to speak English. While some of the groups formed their cliques early on in the week, by the time it came to doing their skit, and eventually by the last day, the cliques were unrecognizable and new friends had been made.

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By far one of the best days of the camp was “D-Day”. A scare tactic perhaps, yet pretty brutally hard, we spent the morning doing stations completely dedicated to defensive movements. The coaches prepped by applying eye black, wearing bandanas and dribble goggles, and getting their scare faces ready (think Monster’s Inc.). We did our best to put on a show, and when it was time to destroy the kids mentally and physically, we were ready. Tuck Jumps, line hops, continuous lunges, d-slides, ladder drills, stairs, and more. By the end, some were gassed but others were fired up for more. The coolest part was that no one gave up and more often than not, kids were encouraging each other to keep pushing through until the end.

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Coaches with their D Day attire and mean mugs on

Coaches with their D Day attire and mean mugs on

By the last day, part of me was completely spent and simply grateful we had made it through, while the rest of me was feeling a bit saddened that this was the end of something very special. The kids, like the girls’ camp, had had a blast and wanted to take pictures with us and become Facebook friends. I can’t explain how it feels to have been apart of these kids’ lives.

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Drive Coaches

 

 

Addendum:

On the second to last day of camp, Chris was working out in the gym, and while doing box jumps onto the stage…fell…and got hurt…cut hit shin…to the bone…resulted in 7 stitches from IMC. He got to meet all the lovely people I worked with last week! What a trooper.

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Chris getting stitches at IMC