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Jul 24 14

MVP Basketball Camp’s 20th Anniversary

by Briana Santiago
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MVP Basketball Camp is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this summer and has received a proclamation from the county recognizing 5,000 scholarships granted since inception. The scholarship program has enabled children to attend the camp regardless of financial means, a dream for founder Stanley D. Greene. The camp is very popular among Westchester County residents, but many may be unaware of MVP’s ­­­­unusual history.

Stan Greene’s parents could not afford for Stan to attend summer camp when he was growing up, a fact he never forgot when he started MVP. Stan loved basketball and played on Harvard University’s Varsity team. He had a long and successful business career, then in his retirement he worked as a coach at several basketball camps. He noticed these camps were only for families who could afford to pay the tuition. This is what triggered Stan to create MVP Basketball Camp as a non-profit organization. Stan Green explained his selection of the name of the camp. “MVP usually means ‘Most Valuable Player,’ but at our camp it means ‘Most Valued Person.’ Our goal is to treat each camper as a Most Valued Person. Through the game of basketball we help to guide each camper along the passageway of life’s experience. If we can accomplish that goal, we will consider our efforts rewarded.”

MVP Basketball Camp served 400 campers its first year, including 23 who attended on full scholarships plus another 46 who received partial scholarships. Stan invited many guest speakers, including former Knicks coach Red Holzman, NBA shooting instructor Dave Hopla, NBA referee Ronnie Nunn, the Commissioner of the NBA David Stern, and NBA Hall of Famer Nate “Tiny” Archibald who returned to camp this year for the 20th Anniversary.

Due to the success of the first year of camp, camper registration and scholarship awards increased the following summer. In the second year, WNBA Hall of Famer Carol Blazejowski spoke at the camp. The camp was not only attracting children from Westchester, but also from all the boroughs of New York City. In 1996 Stan Greene and George Masters, the head basketball coach at Fox Lane High School in Bedford directed operations of the camp. This was where the initial connection with Fox Lane originated. Another Fox Lane teacher John Nemsick came on board as a coach around the same time. John has now been the camp director for the past 10 years.

In the early years, MVP Basketball Camp provided scholarships to children from group home facilities like Abbott House, Pleasantville Cottages, and Graham-Windham, as well as children from the Fresh Air Fund and Westhab. The list of social service agencies has now extended to Andrus Children’s Center, Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club, Westchester Jewish Community Services, the Theodore D. Young Center, and the Carver Center. For many years these organizations have commented on the good MVP hsd done for their children, and the opportunity given to the kids to flourish and improve their basketball skills at the camp each summer.

In 2005 a young camper from named Matt Ellman only asked for one gift on his 10th birthday. In Matt’s birthday party invitations he included a picture of himself at camp, along with a note asking for donations to MVP camp rather than presents. He wanted to help other kids attend camp also. Matt raised a total of $1,400 allowing four youngsters to attend the camp. With this generous and kind action the Stan Greene Community Spirit Award was established. “The award is really to recognize people who have gone above and beyond to help the camp fulfill its mission,” says Noel Muyskens. Matt received the award in 2005. Subsequent recipients of this award include Dannon, for their generous support of the lunch program, and former MVP camper turned professional athlete Torey Thomas, who comes back to MVP each year and mentors some of the children from his White Plains neighborhood.

Stan Greene’s organization has not only been a camp for residents of New York State, but also for children overseas. In 1999 Stan helped sponsor some foreign students to come to Westchester and get a taste of American Basketball. Some notable campers from that year include a 6-foot-2 16 year old named George Otieno-Pala and his sister Vanessa from Kenya, Thomas Rhall, age 9, who moved to Rye from Canberra, Australia, and Ignacio Hernandez, a 14 year old Spaniard who had played in Madrid and wished to continue basketball in the United States. Stan also hosted Ugis Briedis, a table tennis champion in his country of Latvia, in order for him to attend MVP Basketball Camp. In more recent years MVP has hosted campers from Germany, England, Japan, France, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic.

During the summer after September 11th, 2001, the Fire Fighter Fund was set up to allow children of any fire fighter who had lost their life to attend MVP Camp on a full scholarship.  Then the “Hoops for Troops” program was created in 2005 to provide scholarships for campers with family members in the armed forces. In 2007 MVP reached a milestone by awarding more than 300 scholarships in one summer, and they have increased the number of scholarships granted every year since. Stan Green passed away in 2009, leaving MVP as his proudest legacy.

To launch MVP Basketball Camp’s 20th Anniversary season, MVP’s Junior Board of Directors, a group of dedicated high school volunteers, held a three-on-three basketball tournament over Columbus Day weekend that also featured clinics run by MVP’s experienced coaches. That was followed by a Ping Pong Madness fundraiser in March organized by the adult board. The two events raised a combined total of $20,000 for camp scholarships. Then MVP decided to celebrate the anniversary with two parties. The first celebration was a private wine tasting event, which saw the return of Nate “Tiny” Archibald. The second event will be an after-camp party for kids and adults with a guest appearance by Former NBA All-Star and current New York Knicks Assistant General Manager Allan Houston. This event is being held at our White Plains Camp location (128 Grandview Ave, White Plains, NY 10606) and is open to the general public. We hope to see everyone there who has supported MVP Basketball Camp throughout our first 20 years.

Dec 11 13

Boys Raise Money For Scholarships

by Noel Muyskens

Robbie, the 7 year old grandson of MVP Basketball Camp’s founder Stan Greene, attended MVP in the summer of 2013, and according to his mom he had a blast. His brother Sammie was still not old enough to be part of the “Junior MVP’s,” the youngest age group at camp, but he got to visit camp and he is itching to go next summer. During camp the boys heard that some children come to MVP from families that can’t afford summer camp. So these two entrepreneurs decided to make and sell loom bracelets to raise money for MVP’s scholarship program.

The boys set up shop in front of their building in New York City. Robbie was the salesman. His speech to his customers was “the charity we are raising money for is a camp I went to called MVP in White Plains and the money will go to paying for a child who wants to go to the camp but can’t afford it”. Sammie was the cashier and helped people select bracelets. His cash register is clearly state of the art.

The sale was a great success. The boys raised $85 for MVP, and thanks to all the beautiful bracelets the whole neighborhood became a bit more fashionable. Robbie and Sammie hope that other kids will take up their idea and add to their total. $280 will fund the attendance of one child at MVP Basketball Camp, which Westchester Magazine named “Best Sports Camp in 2013.”

MVP gave scholarships to 368 boys and girls in 2013. All scholarship recipients had to submit a letter of recommendation from school. MVP believes that the game of basketball offers great opportunities to teach broader life skills like hard work, perseverance, and attention to detail, and the scholarship recipients know that they must display these characteristics during the school year to ensure a teacher recommendation that will allow them to return in the future.

MVP’s third annual “Ping Pong Madness” fundraiser will be held this year on March 21st at the Westchester Table Tennis Center. This year’s event will tie in to NCAA March Madness, with round of 64 basketball games being televised live during the night and lots of fun contests and prizes based on the results of these games.

As usual, there will be plenty of tables to test your ping pong skills, including the ever popular tournaments, plus lots of food, drink, and music. This is a fun event for the whole family starting at 6:30. Please call me at (914) 946-1231 for more information including sponsor packages, and look for online registration on MVP’s website just after the New Year. If you can’t make the event, please consider a tax deductible donation anytime to MVP’s Youth Development Scholarship Program. Or host your own event like Robbie and Sammie!

Apr 8 13

Varsity Skills Academy

by Noel Muyskens

MVP Basketball Camp has announced a three day Varsity Skills Academy for 14 – 16 year old players developing a varsity-level game. The academy will include separate programs for boys and girls in this age range. For years MVP administered a similar program just for girls which was very well received, but the program ran at the same time and location as a regular MVP camp week and challenged the size of the White Plains Middle School facility. By running its varsity program July 1 – 3 this year when its programs for younger children are not in session, MVP can add a boys varsity division also with plenty of indoor court space for both.

While the final coaching rosters are not set yet, the academy will be led by MVP’s most experienced coaches, including Section 1 head coaches on both the boys and girls side, plus coaches with experience in the college ranks. Unlike a “regular” camp week at MVP, where participants are placed on a team each Monday and play games throughout the week leading up to a playoffs, the academy will features scrimmages rather than games and a stronger emphasis on teaching stations and one on one instruction.

In an effort to provide insight into whether or not this program is right for your son or daughter, our camp brochure states “JV or Varsity experience preferred but not required.”  We recognize that many children who will be 14 years old as of the start of camp are unlikely to have had the opportunity to try out for JV or Varsity yet. As a general rule of thumb, to be ready for this level of instruction younger participants should have significant experience playing organized basketball, most likely in AAU or other travel programs, and have definite plans to try out for JV or Varsity in the near future. Equally important, younger participants should be enthusiastic about the opportunity to challenge themselves against strong competition.

MVP Basketball Camp is known for fun contests, giveaways, and an awards ceremony where everyone is recognized, and these elements of a fun summer camp experience will still be there during the varsity academy. However, the emphasis will be on serious skills development.  As always, MVP will offer scholarship awards for this program if parents of deserving children can’t afford camp tuition. The result will be a relatively diverse camper population that allows the serious player to meet and compete against kids from many different cultures and backgrounds.

If you have any questions about MVP’s Varsity Academy, please call me at (914) 946-1231 or email nmuyskens@mvpbasketballcamp.org. Online registration is available at http://www.mvpbasketballcamp.org/on-line-registration-2013-v1.html.

Jul 26 12

Staying Cool at MVP

by Noel Muyskens

Here at “the coolest camp in Westchester” we are doing our best to keep the kids cool during the summer heat.

We are proud to announce the purchase MVP’s new  misting tent, a feature the kids have been loving here at camp. The teams have the opportunity to stand under the canopy in between games and activities.

Check out this video of campers enjoying the tent: Misting Tent

In addition, MVP has numerous drink stations set up all around camp that are constantly being refilled. Each station includes two coolers to keep kids hydrated all day. On the hotter days, each division is sent to the air conditioned auditorium at least twice for a 20 minute movie break. This allows kids some relaxing time away from the daily activities and heat.

MVP also features many umbrellas on the sidelines to shade the kids. Our outstanding Certified Athletic Trainer can provide sunscreen for any camper that asks. She is also on the ready with ice bags and other supplies for overheated players.

MVP FUN FACTS: In the 5 weeks of camp, MVP goes through…

  • 40,000 cups
  • 8,000 lbs of ice
  • 750 gallons of Gatorade

Jun 29 12

MVP welcomes Jane Haslam Photography

by Noel Muyskens
MVP Basketball Camp is excited to announce a new partnership this summer with Jane Haslam Photography. Jane is a specialist in sports photography and will be providing both individual and action photography at all our camps. All the images can be found online at the link below. All parents of 2012 campers should have received the password to access the albums via e-mail and handouts from camp. If you are having trouble accessing the photos please e-mail Noel Muyskens at nmuyskens@mvpbasketballcamp.org

We hope you enjoy browsing the galleries and also please note that you have the option to buy either prints or a range of digital downloads. Best of all you will be helping MVP with every purchase, no matter how small, as a percentage from every sale will be donated back to MVP Basketball Camps.

Finally if you have any queries or requests regarding the photography please contact Jane directly via her website.

Jun 18 12

MVP Checklist: What to bring to camp

by Noel Muyskens

Just one more short week before our Fox Lane camp begins! Whether you are joining us in Fox Lane or White Plains, use this checklist to make sure you are prepared for a fun-filled week of basketball!

  • Medications: The MVP trainer will collect medications every Monday morning. When you drop off your camper, please come inside to drop off the medication and sign a consent form for the trainer to administer the medication if need be.
  • Sunscreen: We have indoor as well as outdoor courts. Please make sure you use sunscreen before coming to camp. Have it on hand to apply throughout the day.
  • Attire: Each camper will receive two MVP team t-shirts. Campers should wear gym shorts and any t-shirt that they can change out of on Day 1. After the first day, they must wear the MVP t-shirt. Please wear sneakers.
  • Water: Campers will have access to water stations on the sidelines of game areas but please feel free to send your camper with a water bottle.
  • Lunch: Lunch will be provided to every camper however you may choose to bring a bag lunch instead. We often serve Papa Johns or Domino’s pizza, McDonald’s hamburgers, Subway sandwiches etc. Gatorade and water is always available. In addition to the meal, we feature snacks such as Dannon yogurt and Whole Foods fruit. We have refrigerators for brown bag lunches if you prefer, however, we have no use of a microwave. Vending machines are available at both camp locations but MVP has no way to reimburse campers for lost money in the machines.

There are no lockers and MVP cannot be responsible for anything brought by the camper. This includes cell phones and other electronic devices.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Mar 13 12

MVP’s 18th Season and Annual Fundraiser

by Noel Muyskens

MVP’s 18th season is just around the corner and registration is already in full swing for boys and girls ages 6 – 16. Each week is a complete session, so families can choose the week or weeks that fit into their busy summer schedules. Multiple week and multiple child discounts are available. On-line registration is available. MVP’s experienced coaches come back year after year and are the heart and soul of the program. Each day features teaching stations, fun contests, and league games leading up to a playoff in every division. Lunch is included in the price. The week culminates in a Friday awards ceremony that recognizes every camper.

MVP will open the 2012 camp season at the Fox Lane Middle School and High School Complex just off Interstate 684 at Exit 4. This Bedford camp will run from June 25 – 29. As in the past there will be three divisions for boys ages 9 – 16, and by adding the high school gyms this year MVP will have enough court space to also feature a division for girls ages 9 – 13. Many parents complain about the lack of camp alternatives during the week right after school ends. By moving the Bedford week to the end of June, MVP has taken an already popular camp and turned it into a week that may fill up very early. Enrollment is on a first come, first served basis. The camp day is 9AM to 4PM. Early drop-off and extended day are available.

The four White Plains weeks will begin this year on July 9th and are open to boys and girls ages 6 – 16. As always, the location will be the White Plains Middle School – Highlands Campus located at the intersection of Old Mamaroneck Road and Hartsdale Ave. In addition to the four divisions for older boys and girls, these weeks feature a popular “Junior MVP” co-ed program for 6 – 8 year olds. The instruction for this age group is always age appropriate and delivered in a safe and fun atmosphere. Two of the White Plains’ sessions also feature “Varsity Week” programs for strong female players ages 13 – 16. Top coaches in the section work on higher level skills in an atmosphere that resembles a varsity practice, without losing sight of the fact that summer camp should be a fun experience for all.

Ping Pong Fundraiser Planned for April

Stan Greene founded MVP Basketball Camp in 1994 with the dream that no child would ever be turned away due to an inability to pay. Stan passed away in December of 2009 after a long illness. His legacy is a basketball camp has awarded over 4000 scholarships to economically disadvantaged children, plus scholarship awards to numerous children with a family member serving in the armed forces through MVP’s “Hoops for Troops” program. On the evening of Friday, April 27th MVP will host an evening of games, food and drink at the Westchester Table Tennis Center in Pleasantville, NY to raise money for 2012 scholarships. Visit http://www.mvpbasketballcamp.org/pdf/ping-pong.pdf for more information including a printable application. Online registration is also available.

MVP is dedicated to youth development, and its guest speakers use the game basketball as a metaphor for the challenges adolescents face as they approach adulthood. MVP also offers internships to former campers who are looking to develop job skills in a fun atmosphere that celebrates diversity. But first and foremost, MVP is a place where boys and girls have fun playing the game they love. As one young camper says in MVP’s camp video, “it’s like we’re in the real NBA.”

Oct 7 11

Spotlight on Bob Hurley

by Noel Muyskens

On October 29 MVP Basketball Camp will host a clinic featuring Bob Hurley Sr., who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 along with NBA greats Karl Malone and Scottie Pippin. Not long after that, Bob Hurley was featured on 60 Minutes. Since then he hasn’t exactly rested on his laurels, winning his fourth national title and an unprecedented 26th state championship.  More importantly, he continues to graduate virtually every player who comes through his program, and has sent all but two on to college during a 39 year tenure at St. Anthony’s High School in the tough urban environment of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Coach Hurley has been a guest speaker at MVP Basketball Camp several times, but his increasing attention to his own summer sleep-away camps has prevented him from finding time to attend MVP the past two summers. So I was very excited when he agreed to participate in a Fall Clinic celebrating MVP’s 4000th scholarship award granted since inception. His message often revolves around the uncompromisingly high standards that he sets for his players, his coaches, and even his own sons. Both played D1 basketball. Bobby Hurley Jr. won two national titles at Duke University before a career in the pros.

I’ve had a few opportunities to speak with Mr. Hurley over the years. Despite the tough guy image, the first two things that strike me about Bob Hurley are his love for his family and his devotion to a small and often-times financially struggling high school which doesn’t even have its own gym. It never takes him long to mention his wife Chris, who has been the scorekeeper at every St. Anthony’s home game. And it is no secret that Bob Hurley has been wooed by major institutions with deep pockets and huge arenas, but he feels he can have a more positive influence on kids by staying right where he is. In the documentary “The Street Stops Here,” Hurley says “If I can just get them out of Jersey City, if I can get them into college, their lives will be a lot different.”

The list of of St. Anthony’s players who’ve found success on the college hardwood is very long, and he stays in touch with them long after he’s watched them graduate. The class that won the state title in 2008 (featured in The Street Stops Here) included Rutgers standout Mike Rosario and Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor.

MVP Basketball Camp is certainly not focused on producing D1 talent, but MVP is in the business of building character through the game of basketball. In that way, who could be a better guest speaker than Bob Hurley Sr.? Many of MVP’s campers come from tough urban environments. MVP has now given out 4000 camp scholarships since inception to children whose parents can’t afford camp tuition. We invite you to meet Bob Hurley at our October 29 clinic. All proceeds will fund future scholarship awards. You can register on-line at http://www.mvpbasketballcamp.org/on-line-registration_clinic.html

Jul 9 11

Here’s to Our Coaches!

by Noel Muyskens

It was great meeting and getting to know the coaches at MVP Basketball camp! They have been an essential part of the camp’s success over the years. They foster such a positive and competitive environment at camp. I have only been here for four days and I can already feel the energy and camaraderie between teams.  These coaches love coming back year after year to support this wonderful cause. They even argue with each other over who has been here the longest!

Coach Ben Williams has been working with MVP for nine years. He enjoys working with children each summer and says, “The kids keep me young at heart!” He is not only a proficient basketball player but a football player as well! For all you athletes, whatever your sport is, Coach Williams says, “Continue to work hard and when your opponent is sleeping, you better be out there practicing!!”

Coach Jason Basso has been with MVP for nine years. He coaches all weeks at Bedford and White Plains. He is the commissioner for the B1 division, also known as the “Big East”. For him, as it is for many other coaches, “Basketball all day is awesome!” His advises young athletes to “Come to the court with a positive attitude; work hard, pay attention and have fun!”

Coach Tim Jenkins has been with MVP for twelve years! He is the commissioner for the B3 division, also known as “NBA East”. This year he is also Assistant Camp Director. When he’s not coaching his team, he enjoys catching up with his kids, asking about their progress during the school year.  He says, “MVP is an extended family you don’t see but once a year.” He says, “Don’t settle with one sport; sample different sports until you find two or three that you will always remain with.”

Coach Tyrone Carver has been with MVP for thirteen years! This year he is also Assistant Camp Director. He also enjoys meeting and working with children.  He was first introduced to MVP by John Nemsick, MVP’s camp director, when Nemsick was his coach at Sleepy Hollow High School! He says, “This camp provides kids with an unbelievable experience to meet other children and learn from some of the greatest coaches in the area!”

This environment is very new to me since I do not play basketball, but watching these talented coaches work with their teams is a great experience. This has already been an exciting start to my summer!

Until next time,

Preeth

Jun 17 11

Lending a helping hand…

by Noel Muyskens

MVP Basketball Camp was founded in 1994 by the late Stan Greene. Since then, MVP has assisted over 3900 economically disadvantaged children in attending summer camp! This summer we will be offering our 4,000th scholarship since our inception!

The Community Outreach Program offers a variety of different scholarships. Children can apply for a basic scholarship by sending information regarding the financial status of their family and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, coach or counselor.

MVP has partnered with local efforts to award students with special scholarships. Due to the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, MVP partnered with the New York City Fire Commissioner and created the MVP Firefighters Fund. This allows children with relatives who were firefighters lost on 9/11 to attend camp on a full scholarship.

Since 2005, the Hoops for Troops Program has also been very successful. Children who have relatives in the military are given the opportunity to attend camp, free of charge. Two years ago, Hoops for Troops partnered with the Wounded War Project to offer assistance to children who have relatives that were wounded during their military service.

The Stan Greene Memorial Scholarships are awarded to four children. The 1st place prize, given to one boy and one girl covers three weeks of camp at no charge. The 2nd place prize, also given to one boy and one girl, covers two weeks of camp at no charge. This award would not be possible without the generous contributions from the friends and family of Stan Greene. In order to apply for this scholarship, students must submit a report card and an essay about either his or her leadership skills or his or her community service efforts. Both subjects were very dear to Mr. Greene.  

We are happy to announce that last year, 274 children were able to attend camp on a scholarship! We hope to continue reaching our youth through the love of basketball!

We look forward to another successful year! See you this summer!

Sincerely,

Preeth