Simcoe camp more than just basketball
Emma Parkin has fond memories of going to the Governor Simcoe Basketball Camp as a young child.
“It was super exciting when I woke up and knew I was going to spend my whole day here doing fun things,” Parkin recalled.
Parkin began attending the camp eight years ago and is now one of several Simcoe students who volunteer at the camp for the week.
“It’s really exciting to watch them from the beginning of the camp and they are new to it and then by the end you see how much they have grown in a week,” said Parkin, who is entering Grade 11 and a member of the senior girls basketball team. “It’s cool to see them grow.”
Parkin, 16, enjoys the mix of fun and learning the camp is known for.
“Whenever I was in the camp, I always wanted a coach who would give me a fun time,” she said. “Now, being a coach, I want to make sure they are having a good time and also learning. I like to show them the fun side, too.”
Junior boys basketball player Matteo Martin is also enjoying the experience.
“It’s just being a role model and showing them what to do,” said Martin, who is entering Grade 10. “It’s good for the kids so they just don’t stay in the house and get out and do something and learn new things.”
Martin, who convinced a cousin from Cleveland to attend the camp, seems a natural at teaching.
“It’s pretty easy. It helps because I know the game and have played for a long time so I just teach them the stuff I need to do.”
The camp was begun 20 years ago by Simcoe coaches John Dakin, Scott Madole and Pat Woodburn as a fundraiser for Simcoe teacher Mike Fitzgerald, who was battling cancer. Fitzgerald retired recently and is in good health.
The camp then morphed into its current state.
“It is part of fund-raising for our basketball program, but it’s more now for our players to have an opportunity to develop leadership, to get the community hours,” Simcoe coach and teacher Jill Stiefelmeyer said.
Stiefelmeyer said the camp has endured so long because of its good reputation.
“They know we run a good program and cater to all different abilities and all different needs,” said Stiefelmeyer, who was recently inducted into the University of Western Ontario’s hall of fame. “We also teach them about leadership and responsibility. The parents see us as role models.
“Almost everyone knows one of us.”
Simcoe boys basketball coach Shaun Feor was an instructor in the early days of the camp.
“It first started with about 30 kids,” he remembered. “It’s seen growth; it’s an ebb and flow.
“What I think makes it unique is from having it go from John, Woody and Scott to Jill and John. It’s neat how it’s been handed off. It’s part of our tradition of culture at the school to give back to the community and help develop young basketball players.”
This year’s camp has 60 participants ranging in age from eight to 14.
“We do half-hour sessions. We do skill development and it alternates with the games,” Stiefelmeyer said. “We try to make it really fun but also work on skill development and team play.”
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