Basketball camp at UNC provides extraordinary opportunity
But Hatchell was not motivating the 13 members of her UNC squad. Instead, she spoke to the 23 campers participating in the Extraordinary Ventures Spectrum Skills Camp, who were concluding the week-long camp with a scrimmage at Carmichael.
The camp, which started on June 23 and culminated with the scrimmage last Friday, allowed campers with developmental disabilities to spend a week participating in activities such as basketball drills, arts and crafts, field trips and more.
Hatchell surprised the campers after they toured the women’s basketball museum in Carmichael, and proceeded to take pictures and sign autographs. She then brought out pennies for the campers to play in and passed out pom-poms for family and friends watching the scrimmage.
“She’s my favorite coach in the world,” said camper Stephanie Madden.
Campers scrimmaged for about an hour while Hatchell and the campers’ family and friends cheered them on.
Counselors were alongside the campers to make sure they were having a safe, enjoyable time. Caroline Hatley, a camp organizer, spoke highly of the counselors.
“They’re all volunteers,” Hatley said. “The Extraordinary Ventures staff helps us as well. They are members of our team. And the counselors are volunteers from the community — everyone from lawyers to real estate brokers to teachers. And they volunteer their time all week and they are really spectacular people.”
After the scrimmage, everyone headed to Extraordinary Ventures for a banquet to celebrate the end of the camp. Each camper received a trophy during the celebration.
Camper Javier Guzman enjoyed his first experience at the camp.
“I’m definitely going to come back,” he said.
According to the press release, the camp, which is in its third year, serves as a highlight of the year for the campers. But Hatley said that is also the case for the directors and counselors.
“It feels really amazing to be able to give back to the community,” Hatley said. “To work with this group of individuals is inspiring and something that we look forward to all year long.”
Jaimi West, a director for the camp, said the camp inspires her and gives her the opportunity to reach out in a new way.
“I teach fifth grade, so just having a different population to work with in the community has been amazing, and it makes you appreciate little small things in life that we all take for granted,” West said. “They help me appreciate a lot about life in general.”
According to the press release, this year’s camp had about 50 percent more campers than last year. Hatley said she hopes it continues to have success in the future.
“Our goal is to grow a little bit every year,” Hatley said. “We’re a little bit bigger than we were last year and hopefully will be even bigger next year.”
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