MILTON — Central High School Head Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Hunter Bondurant offered 30 children a three-day basketball camp experience at the school that he said turned out to be an unexpected success.
Bondurant held the camp right before school started on Aug. 5-7 for boys and girls entering the fourth, fifth or sixth grade and featured students from five different schools in Santa Rosa County. According to Bondurant, the camp sold out the available slots weeks before it even started. He said he chose the grade levels for the camp because he felt there are opportunities for activities for that age bracket.
"We launched this camp for several reasons," Bondurant said. "Our kids don't have the exposure and opportunities to extra-curricular activities (that are common) in more populated areas, so it gave the kids the chance to experience a summer sport camp setting that kids across the country may typically attend in the summer."
He said the school's varsity girls team volunteered to work the camp as coaches, which gave them a chance to mingle and create relationships with young kids who hope to be in their shoes one day.
"I know as a kid myself my heroes were all the varsity basketball players, so allowing our players to associate with the young kids hopefully created some good memories for them." Bondurant said. "We also are working hard to build a winning program and I believe that starts with our youth. If we're able to start working and providing knowledge to our young kids then as they grow and develop it gives us an opportunity at the high school level to be extremely successful."
Boundurant said he designed the camp to give parents and students the most value for their money, centered around constant learning and engagement. He said when they were in the classroom they discussed topics including leadership, being mentally tough and to dream "crazy" and to not let anyone get in the way of their dreams.
"In the last classroom session, each kid wrote down what their 'crazy' dream was and some even volunteered to share what their dreams were (with others)," Bondurant said.
In the future, Bundurant hopes to expand the camp for the seventh and eight graders and possibly to the high school, he said.