Hoops, high fives and life lessons: YMCA's specialty basketball camp enriches youngsters


Some knew the game, while for others it was their first time on a basketball court.

But by the end of the week, all had benefitted from the enthusiastic coaching of Travis Barry with the help of Jim Watt and MIA students Johnny Watt, Dominic Moller and Kevin Barry.

It was one of the series of summer specialty camps presented by the Greater Marco Family YMCA, and over the course of the week the young players learned tactics and techniques to further instill the love of the game.

"The instructors were really nice, and taught us the proper way to shoot, as well as passing and dribbling and stuff," said 10-year-old Bianca Fernandez.

But they also learned something a little deeper.

Assistant coach Jim Watt gets a tactical point across.

"We learned that basketball is a team sport, and that you don't focus on yourself," said Fernandez, who plays on the local Optimists Club team in her age group.

Coach Barry took that sentiment a little further during the Friday wrap-up, which included the presentation of awards for spirit and the love of the game, for example.

"I saw one of you, Leo, slapping high fives with someone who didn't have such a good shooting time today," Barry said. "That means a lot to me ... and it means a lot more than winning any basketball game."

Barry volunteered to run the camp after being approached by the Y's Sports & Wellness Director, Lee Pinkham.

The group gets together on the final day of the camp.

"I love to get more awareness and excitement about the sport on our island," Barry said.

For more information on Y camps, as well as the wide variety of programs and activities for youth as well as adults, visit marcoymca.org (an app is available), or call 394-3144.