Basketball camp teaches lessons on and off the court

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JACKSON, Tenn. — Hundreds of children laced up Saturday for basketball in the Hub City. It was all for a camp designed to hone their skills and help them bounce back on and off the court. “In order to be able to bounce back, there has to be a foundation,” former NBA player Andre Turner said. “Here we’re starting a foundation for a lot of these kids, especially the younger ones.” More than 100 kids, ages 6 to 18, laced up their sneakers and hit the court for Bounce Back Basketball Camp at the T.R. White Sportsplex. “You get to learn all kinds of different stuff, especially the warm-ups,” Alissa Hill said. “It’s a lot of fun to have all these people out here because most of us don’t know each other.” Organizers said the camp is more than just a place to hone basketball skills — it’s a chance to do some good. “Regardless of your past, your future has a clean slate,” Jackson City Councilman Johnny Dodd said. Dodd said it’s all about giving these kids a sense of pride. “This shirt right here is going to mean a lot to these kids,” Dodd said. “As a kid growing up, I knew that if I got a T-shirt I probably slept in that T-shirt and put it on every day to show it off.” Whether they’re making new friends or a few baskets, coaches say they hope what they’re teaching will resonate off the court as well. “There’s accountability, responsibly, discipline and work ethic,” Turner said. “Sports teaches you that, and all it is, is helping you hone your life skills.” With the help of these mentors, organizers hope the camp will change these kids for the better. “If I can be like this person, I can make it in life,” Dodd said. “So it might be one thing that one of these speakers says to these kids that can change their whole life around.” This is the eighth year the Bounce Back Basketball Camp has been hosted for the children of Jackson. It’s free of charge and supported by donations and sponsors from the community.

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