By Gary Curreri
For more than three decades, the Highlands Christian Academy basketball camp has brought smiles to its participants and this year was no different.
Former athletic director and head boys basketball coach Reg Cook began the camp in 1986 with 19 players and this year there were more than 100 participants in the 31st annual camp.
“It is the most popular athletic camp we offer here at Highlands,” said Jim Good, who succeeded Cook in both capacities at the school. They also offer gymnastics, softball, indoor soccer, track, volleyball, and golf during the summer.
The camp was split into two weeks – one for 2nd through 6th graders and the other for 7th through 12th graders. The first week attracted 45 campers; while the second week had 60 campers.
“We had an amazing group of coaches work the camp this summer,” said Good, who has been involved in the program for the past 20 years. He was assisted by Luke Still (Boys Junior Varsity), Josh Good (Boys Junior High), John Wilson (Girls Varsity) and two Highlands Christian School alumni – Jeff Sullivan and Caris Everette. Also in attendance was North Broward Prep School head coach and Ball by Design Director Casey Wohlleb.
“Our philosophy has always been to create a safe and competitive environment, to have fun by working hard, and to teach basketball as well as life skills,” Good said. “Each morning, our coaches had the opportunity to share a devotion and personal testimony emphasizing that God needs to be at the top of our priority list.”
The morning session included warm-up runs, stretching, ball handling, dribbling and agility/speed stations. Each day, there was a trophy contest that included 1-on-1, 2-on-2, foul shooting and hot shots.
“We would go off campus every day for lunch eating at Chick-Fil-A and CiCi’s Pizza,” Good said. “Coach Casey came in every afternoon with our 7th-12th grade camp and did a tremendous job on breaking down footwork and proper mechanics on shooting. He provided several quality drills each afternoon.”
The group then ended the day by playing 5-on-5 full court games.
Good believes the biggest reason the camp has been able to thrive as long as it has because of the quality of the coaching staff.
“Our coaches are extremely committed in focusing their attention on the campers and really giving 100 percent to help each player improve,” Good said. “We have done a pretty good job with being consistent but also relevant. Our camp is very organized with a specific agenda each day.
“We focus a lot on encouragement and motivation; there’s always a great “vibe” and interaction with the campers and coaching staff,” he added. “Also, I really feel we have gained the trust of so many of the parents that they feel their kids are involved in a safe environment where learning the game of basketball is happening but also learning the game of life.”