We had two awesome weeks in NJ with our partner the Family Resource Network of NJ in both Wyckoff and Chatham. We make a great team together and serving children with all types of developmental issues. The Family Resource Network has partnered with us for 7 years. This year the Family Resource Network introduced the Get Fit! Program in the camp which included all sorts of conditioning and plyo-metric drills which was a slam dunk success. In addition to all that, our staff was phenomenal, as well as all of our volunteers (which, by the way, getting 41 from Eisai Pharmaceuticals was fantastic!). From top to bottom, they worked hard and got the most out of the kids in attendance. I could not have asked for anything more from them. The kids at the end of each week grew on all levels: mentally, skill-wise and socially. So great to see! And for the 8th year, Whole Foods was a sponsor and as always, we are so grateful to them. We had more than enough waters and healthy snacks for the kids.
The Brain Balance Centers (of Allendale and Summit) came back to camp and not only did an intimate and wonderful parent workshop for both sessions, in the middle of the week, but this year each added something new. They showed how diverse they are, teaching the children in camp about the foods they eat. For instance, sugars in sports drinks as well as the different types of processed meats. The image I still can not get out of my head is the picture of future hamburger meat of what is soon to be a fast food entree going trough the machine to be processed in its pinkish color before they die it and serve it to you the unknowing customer…yuck! Makes you think twice about getting that Big Mac now! But in all seriousness this is why Brain Balance has such a strong following and centers all over the country, they are holistic, fun and educational.
Two great guests we had who are now “camp regulars”: Rafael Addison, a former NBA player with the Suns, Nets, Pistons, and Hornets. “Raf” had a solid career in the pros and is a special needs teacher now and basketball coach. He was also a star at Syracuse University and has been coming to camp as a guest for the last 7 years. And to top it off, the legendary Hall of Fame Coach Bob Hurley of St. Anthony High School in Jersey City who has won 26 state championships, 5 national championships, and over 1000 wins came to both sessions of camp too. This is his 2nd year at camp and he showed why he is the best coach in the business. Both Rafael and Coach Hurley do a great job of putting the kids through some great drills and providing a great learning mechanism. We thank not only Coach Hurley and Rafael, but all of our speakers this summer.
One funny and really cool story I would like to share with you was that at camp we give everyone who attends a t-shirt and basketball (among the several things). On that note, in attendance at our Chatham Camp was a 10 year old girl with epilepsy, who had just started playing basketball. From the first day she would take her ball home and play with it in the drive way. She would then insist on bringing her new ball in the house and washing it in the tub, after she played with it. Then, she would sleep with it that night, before she brought the ball to camp the next morning, everyday! This little girl got so much better as the week progressed, looks like we are going to have a player! It is stories like that which make you love your job. We had to give her another ball for inside because that story was just too special.
This summer made me more excited than ever and really pumped up for the future. It is going to be great to try and reach as many communities in the school year as well as in the summer too, both locally and nationally. So keep your eyes peeled for upcoming clinics and camps… The task may seem like a daunting one for many, but not when it falls on the shoulders of the man they call “Mighty Mike”….so stay tuned.