UMD Basketball Spends Summer Giving Back to Local Youth
Amid unorganized offseason workouts, members of the University of Minnesota Duluth men’s basketball team took some time out of their schedules to give back to the kids of the Duluth community.
Hosting three camps through the months of June and July with more than 100 kids per session, UMD basketball had their hands full with kids from grades 1-12.
“The players are the absolute stars of the camp. If you can remember when you were six, seven, eight, nine years old, you wanted to play with a college basketball player, and our guys do a great job with being involved with the kids,” UMD men’s head coach Matt Bowen said.
UMD basketball offers a full-service camp that runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday. The campers get fed at the food court, play games, have competitions and take part in various teaching sessions.
“It's a fun day, and it’s a long week,” Bowen said. “Parents like it because kids come home and they’re exhausted, but we’ve had good success with the camp.”
The players rise to the occasion when it comes to coaching the campers and enjoy getting to show them what they know.
“They are very long days, but at the end of the day it’s about giving back to the community,” sophomore forward Sean Burns said. “We have a lot of exciting drills for the kids and get to show them how we do things at the college level.”
There is no shortage of pride for the players when they get to show campers how to do a drill or give campers simple pointers on how to do something better.
“It’s a blessing to be able to have UMD across my chest and represent my school and show these kids that some day, if they work hard, they can probably achieve the same goal we all had,” Burns said.
The camp has shown an increase in popularity and number of campers since Bowen took over the program in 2012.
“Our camps have grown every year. The first year that we did camp we had 45 kids a session so we haven’t quite tripled it but were close,” Bowen said.
Bowen takes no credit for the exponential increase in success of the summer camp over the years. He reserves that for others.
“All the credit goes to the staff and the players who run the daily operations and are certainly the reasons that the kids keep on coming back and our numbers keep on growing,” Bowen said.