The court was packed with kids from the ages of eight to 14, each rushing for the basketball as camp counselors did their best to show off what each child has learned at the Salvation Army Summer Basketball Clinic.The clinic, which ran from July 1-July 18, was free due to funding allocated by Councilmember Vincent Gentile and the support of the Sports & Arts Schools Foundation.Our basketball program is a safe place for kids to come and be productive, said Lieutenant Joel Ashcraft of the Brooklyn Bay Ridge Corps of the Salvation Army. These kids not only learn the fundamentals of basketball but disciplines that they can apply to their everyday lives.Along with the almost three-week camp, the Bay Ridge Corps of the Salvation Army is first and foremost a church. We offer afterschool three days a week along with music lessons, religious classes and a homeless program, added Ashcraft.However on the morning of July 18, the focus was on basketball. Kids played against the counselors and showed off their skills as their parents watched on the sidelines.Erica Morrow, a counselor at the clinic, played college basketball for the University of Syracuse and after graduating from there in the class of 2011, now plays professionally in Switzerland for the Elfic Fribourg.The Salvation Army has been an amazing host for this clinic, enthused Morrow, adding, Its great for these kids to come to a free camp and be taught by counselors who each have experience in playing competitive basketball. Most college clinics don’t have players like us teaching the kids. Instead, they have coaches or trainers which makes this clinic even better for the kids.I felt completely comfortable in leaving my child with these great people, said Younhee Pare, parent of one of the children participating in the clinic. They have done a great job and I hope they will bring it back next year.Although the clinic for this year has ended, Ashcraft is hopeful for its return next year. We are confident in the program returning next summer and are looking forward to our counselors returning as well, he said.As for Morrow and her co-counselors, they look forward to returning as well. I definitely would like to come back next year, she said. Its amazing how you can make connections with people and these kids in such a short time.For more information on the events going on at the Bay Ridge Corps of the Salvation Army, visit salvationarmy.org. For events that the Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation will be doing, go to sasfny.org.
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