In March, I was convincing myself that June was a world away and that a lot can change in four months. The world was changing every two weeks (for better and for worse) so we started planning for camp. The White Plains Central School District was understandably cautious about accepting any summer plans for organizations outside of the school system. We began looking for alternative sites.
Planning included weekly searches into the CDC website, NYS and Westchester County Departments of Health for guidelines. April did not bring about any good news. Yes, many people in New York were being vaccinated but nobody wanted to commit to summer activities. Well, we did have about fifty families who were optimistic and signed up their children for camp. To them, I’d like to say thank you for giving me hope during these “shaky” days.
By the second week of May, Frank Stefanelli and his staff and White Plains Central Schools gave us the green light to hold camp outside. We planned for tents for shade and for lunch; the bathroom situation righted itself and ended up being a non-factor for camp. We put our rain policy into place and published it.
By June, the world was opening up. The proof was in our registrations. In May, we had 270 campers registered; on June 25th, we had 566. Again, thank you to all of you who believed.
On June 28th the fun began (in 95 degree oppressive heat!)! Do you remember that heat wave? We do, but I don’t think the kids did. They complained about having to take shade breaks – they just wanted to run and play. We had two half days of rain (I was a bit cautious on the first one and called it early) but still finished the first week strong. I think everyone was excited that it was summer again.
You began telling your friends about camp. We followed our mission statement and offered scholarships to organizations in New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, and Peekskill (255 in all). Camp grew and grew. From June 28th to August 2nd enrollment went from 566 to 882.
As I write this on the eve of our last day of camp, I cannot help but think about all those kids whose smiles lit up our courts this summer, all of the parents who worked to get their kids to camp, and supported us through the rain / cloud / sun forecasts (without complaining), all of the donors who believe in our mission to help bring all our kids together on the basketball courts every summer. We are nothing without our community.
I would be remiss if I did not highlight the dedicated staff that I get to work with every summer (and they work!): our co-directors Tim Jenkins and Ty Carver have each been at MVP Basketball Camp for over 20 years. Our coaching staff has youth and veteran coaches who love working with kids. Together, they make up the best camp staff in Westchester. Dillon Faulkner, our Associate Director, works tirelessly to dot every i and cross every t. He has been instrumental in getting our scholarship program to levels that no camp has every seen.
Thank you all for believing in our camp and its mission and while we CAN wait a little before next summer, we always look forward to working with your children during our summers.