Building Basketball Bridges, One at a Time
A Texas hoops camp provides a low-cost alternative to the standard expensive options.
by Adam Figman | @afigman
Generally speaking, hoops camps tend to be very expensive. They cost hundreds of dollars for a single day (or few days), and can be extremely difficult for young hoopers growing up in low-income households to afford.
Michael Thomas witnessed this first-hand, and felt the need to do something about it. A former basketball coach at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Thomas was working on his Master’s last year when he realized there weren’t enough cheap options for bball-interested children in Texas, where he lives. So he established Basketball Bridge Builders, a cheap alternative that would cost as little as possible to get off the ground and allow children of all ages the opportunity to spend some time learning the game of basketball—for no more than $50.
“I just noticed there were a lot of kids that wanted to attend camps but couldn’t afford it,” Thomas said. “When I started doing the camps, I said, What’s the lowest I can charge, and pay my workers and pay for the gym? If I didn’t have to pay for the gym or if I had workers that had the [same mindset] as me, I wouldn’t charge anything. It’s for the passion that I have to help these kids out, and say, Hey, you can get into college, and you can use this as a stepping-stone to get there.”
B3, as it’s called, started with a slightly successful camp in College Station, TX (home of the Texas A&M Aggies) in 2010, which was followed by a slightly-more-successful camp in Texarcana, TX. That was followed by a camp this past June in Denton, TX, which had a very strong turn-out, Thomas said.
He also said the camps are about much more than teaching youngsters the sport. “You’d be surprised how many kids did not know you could take the ACT, or how many sophomores didn’t know they could take it as freshman,” Thomas explained. “Our main thing was to educate these kids and tell them, Hey, this is what’s available to you. So we’re not just a camp, we’re a resource to help these kids become productive citizens on and off the court.”
For more information on Basketball Bridge Builders, or to find info about about an upcoming camp—there’s one on October 10 in Lewisville, TX—hit up www.basketballbridgebuilder.com for details.