SUMMER ’21 – We needed this!!!

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.

-John

Welcome to 2021!

I am very excited and hopeful for 2021!  There are positive signs that the youth sports world is safely opening up.  We know more about this pandemic and we know have to safely conduct activities.  MVP Basketball Camp will be ready this spring and summer to bring basketball fun to your children.

This spring we will continue our very successful Home Court Advantage program.  MVP coaches will come to your driveway to give 60-90 minute workouts with your children and their friends (minimum 4 in a group and you must have a basketball hoop).

We have planned for six weeks of summer camp at our Highlands Middle School campus.  This is our traditional full day camp for children 6-15 years old.  Each session is coed grouping except for our August 2-6 week.  We will have a 9-13 year old, girls division.

New this summer, MVP will introduce our Little Hoopers program.  This is an introduction to basketball for 4-5 year olds.  These sessions will take place Monday-Thursday each week from 9:30-11:30.

Registration will begin on January 31st with a 5% early bird discount.  Full refunds will be given through June, if you are not comfortable with your child attending camp.

MVP Knows That Black Lives Matter

Mission statement: MVP is a nonprofit organization affording youth from all backgrounds the opportunity to build basketball and life skills in a fun-filled environment that celebrates diversity.

At MVP Basketball Camp, Black lives matter because those lives are part of our basketball community as campers and coaches.  The MVP mission evolved from the belief that in our increasingly fragmented society it is more and more difficult for children from different socioeconomic backgrounds to meet and share an experience together.  Since 1994, over 25,000 children have attended MVP Basketball Camp and close to 8,000 of them have attended because of scholarship opportunities.  We have used the phrase “blending zip codes” to describe what we do for Westchester County residents.  So much of the county is divided socioeconomically.  Children rarely have opportunities to play with children from other towns.  At MVP Basketball Camp. we bring together the youth from all different communities so that they can play basketball together for a week during the summer.  During a typical week, they learn that people who look different have the same interests.  They play basketball together; at lunch they discuss their passions like video games, favorite athletes, and music.  They find out that they have so much in common.  And when they leave camp, they have personal experiences that are fruitful to help to grow tolerance and understanding.  We hope that these interactions also help to break down stereotypes that might be perpetuated through adults in our society and we support everyone who is fighting against racial injustice and promoting equity for all.

Hope is a good start, but we also must ask ourselves how can we not just be reactive to current events but be more supportive to our communities of color?   At MVP Basketball Camp, besides the commonalities of basketball, we bring together different ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and genders.  Additionally, we attempt educate our campers through our guest speakers. These carefully chosen individuals / groups, which include the police department, fire department, doctors, nutritionists, athletic trainers, and physical therapists, share their knowledge and experience incorporating those life skills that they learned through their careers. By educating our campers through shared experiences, we must make them aware of their similarities and teach them to respect and value their differences.  Ultimately the goal is to help all our youth to understand the humanity of our neighbors.

We value our Black community because they enrich our whole community.  We will continue our mission and work toward providing opportunities for children to play across town lines, to learn from each other and about each other.  We hope our efforts will help to open ALL doors of opportunity for Black lives.  Please join us to make our community better.

Congrats to our MVP family

The Section 1 boys basketball coaches recently announced their First Team All Lower Hudson honorees and three of the six award winners are part of the  MVP Basketball Camp family.   We congratulate Quion Burns, from White Plains High School, Quinn Kelly from Rye High School, and Jayshen Saigal from Scarsdale High School.

Quion Burns spent many summers as a camper.  He volunteered his time as a Coach in Training last summer and will officially transition to a coach this summer. “Q” reflected fondly on his summers at MVP.  “That’s the one thing I love about MVP, the coaches aren’t just there to hang out, they genuinely love the kids and the game, and it shows.”

Quinn Kelly also spent multiple summers as a camper at MVP.  From ages 9-12, Quinn was a fixture at Highlands on the outdoor courts.  He enjoyed the competition and comaraderie at camp.  Quinn mentioned that he often met  campers from other towns throughout the winter during the regular basketball season.

Jayshen never attended camp but he did volunteer for the MVP Junior Board, a group of dedicated high school students whose mission is to raise money for scholarship campers.  In that role Jayshen said, “the work ethic of the junior board members was outstanding as everyone was working hard to raise money to give more kids opportunities.”

We truly congratulate these three fine athletes but we are even more proud of their character and how they help support MVP’s mission.  You can read more about their basketball feats here.

Thanks to the Westchester Community Foundation

MVP Basketball Camp received a $1400 grant to provide scholarships for our Youth Development Scholarship Program.  At least six children from the Coachman Family Shelter, in White Plains, will be awarded scholarships for one week at MVP Basketball Camp this summer.   These funds originated from The Linville Fund and The W. Lee Tuller Memorial Fund.

Westchester Community Foundation’s mission is to connect generous people to the causes they care about and invest in transformative ideas and organizations to improve lives and strengthen our community.  WCF is a division of The New York Community Trust, one of the largest community foundations in the country, with assets over $2.6 billion.  To learn more about WCF, visit their website at http://www.wcf-ny.org

This grant was made possible by the Westchester Community Foundation, a division of The New York Community Foundation.

Thanks Noel!

After 15 years as the Executive Director of MVP Basketball Camp, Noel Muyskens has announced his retirement.  Noel was hand-picked from MVP’s founder, Stan Greene, to lead the camp and that he did.  Under Noel’s guidance, MVP flourished by increasing the number of campers each summer and increasing the number of scholarship campers, as well.  During his tenure, MVP was forced to relocate from its Highlands home on many ocassions due to renovations throughout the White Plains School District.  Despite these obstacles, MVP continued to attract basketball loving children.  Under his leadership, MVP celebrated its 20th and 25th anniversaries, 20,000th camper and 7,000th scholarship.  If you were a deserving young person, Noel made sure you could attend at least a week at MVP.

John Nemsick will be taking over for Noel.  John has been with MVP since its inception in 1994, first as a coach, next as the Director of Operations, and now as the Director.  John is also a middle school teacher in the Bedford Central School District.

Thanks to HSS and everyone who helped to make this summer possible!

Over 800 campers participated in MVP Basketball Camp’s 25th summer!  We had an amazing summer and we have a lot of people to thank.  HSS Westchester is our premiere sponsor this summer (as seen on the back of every camper’s shirt).  They provided our coaches with training on how to properly warm-up athletes to best prevent injuries.  HSS Westchester also presented to our campers about proper nutrition and how to take care of their bodies to prevent injuries.  Our trainers noticed the difference, too.  They said that there were fewer ankle and knee injuries this summer at camp.  Thanks HSS Westchester!

Thanks to San Generro’s restaurant in Dobbs Ferry for bringing us lunch four days a week.   Their pizza is to die for but the chicken tenders also made a big splash with campers.

We welcomed Burger King, in Port Chester, to our weekly menu.  Campers were excited to taste the hamburgers and chesseburgers from the King.

If you have the opportunity to visit these establishments, please do.

Thanks Walmart / Sam’s Club of Elmsford!

This week MVP Basketball Camp received a $1500 grant from Walmart’s Community Grant committee.  Sam’s Club of Elmsword supported our application locally.  The monies will go directly to MVP’s Youth Development Scholarship Program and enable five children to attend basketball camp at MVP.

Kabir Kumar, Senior Director of Community Giving at Walmart, wrote, “We are thrilled to support your work in our communities and share your desire to provide local impact. By receiving this grant, you are part of a long history of Walmart’s commitment to giving back to the communities where we operate. In fact, Mrs. Helen Walton used to say, “It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.”

MVP Basketball is very thankful for the corporate and individual support it receives.  As a non-profit, our mission is dependent on this generosity.  If you can support MVP’s Youth Development Scholarship Program, please reach out to us at 914-946-1231.

MVP Celebrates Its 25th Year With an After Camp Party

County Executive George Latimer with the campers. Camp Executive Director Noel Muyskens with two Hoops for Troops Scholarship parents.

On Thursday, July 18th, MVP rolled out the red carpet and welcomed the community to help it celebrate its 25 years of hosting basketball camps in Westchester.  County Executive George Latimer opened the festivities with a proclamation celebrating MVP’s contributions to the community, including giving over 7000 scholarship weeks to deserving children from the area.  The mayor of White Plains, Thomas Roach, also stopped by to offer his congratulations as did the Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Ricca.

Campers and parents participated in basketball competitions and won prizes from MVP’s generous sponsors: HSS, The Hospital for Special Surgery; The Westchester Knicks; Luke Guanzon, Refinery Strength and Conditioning.  After creating an appetite through the basketball activity, parents and campers visited Walter’s Hot Dogs and Steve’s Ice Cream food trucks outside the gym.  They may have been the biggest hit at the party.  Although the dance contest at the end of the night was certainly memorable.   MVP’s own celebrity coach / DJ, Nizam Singletary, cranked up the energy throughout the afternoon.  A special thank you to Jane Haslam Photography.

MVP Basketball Camp is a 501©3 organization that relies on grants and individual donations to provide its mission.  Each summer we have the goal to offer 300 scholarships to deserving campers.  Thanks to your generosity, we have never missed our target.  If you are in a position to help us provide opportunities please call the camp at 914-946-1231 or visit our donation page:  https://mvpbasketballcamp.org/product/online-donation/

25th Year Celebration Fundraiser – Meet us at the Beach

On Thursday, May 30th from 7 – 9pm, MVP Basketball Camp will celebrate its 25th year of camp by holding a fundraiser at Shenorock Shore Club in Rye, NY.  MVP and its friends have given over 6000 weeks of summer basketball camp to deserving, economically challenged families in the Westchester County area.  This is your opportunity to help us celebrate that accomplishment and to learn about what MVP has planned for the next 25 years.  We will be raffling off dinners, tickets, and experiences.  Sponsorship opportunities are available!

Sign up on our home page.  If you are interested in sponsorships or have a raffle item you’d like to donate, contact John Nemsick at jnemsick@mvpbasketballcamp.org.

Thanks for your support over the years and in the future.