Youth basketball program helps close out the summer

Thompson’s first-ever Level Up Basketball Camp ended Aug. 30 after two weeks of athletic development at the Bill Comaskey Wellness Centre.

Coach Femi Dimeji, who spearheaded this new program alongside his colleague Querwin Campecino, said they managed to attract around 18 youth participants ranging in age from four to 17.

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Dimeji told the Thompson Citizen back in mid-August that he decided to put this camp together after noticing a severe lack of youth athletic programming in Thompson during the summer. 

Over the camp’s 10 days, Dimeji did his best to accommodate a variety of skill levels, running drills that touched on advanced techniques as well as the fundamentals of the game.

“There were kids that had never touched a basketball in their life, but they enjoyed being physically active,” he said. “And then there were kids who had knowledge about basketball that just needed to hone their skills.”

Compared to his past coaching gigs, Dimeji said this two-week camp provided a much more personalized experience, since he got to interact with the kids’ parents directly.

The 23-year-old said it was also gratifying to witness some of the younger participants, in the age 4-7 category, make noticeable improvements in such a short period of time.

“It was nice to see the learning curve, watching them go from day one where they couldn’t dribble a basketball to the next week putting them with the bigger kids and seeing them keep up,” he said. 

Based on the positive reception he received from both the kids and their parents, Dimeji said he is looking to continue this program sometime in the winter, although the specific details still need to be ironed out.

But until then, Dimeji says the inaugural Level Up Basketball Camp was a success and could help fill a void that’s been present in Thompson for a while.

“At the end of the day we achieved our goal of breaking into Thompson and letting people know that there is local people who will look after athletics for youth,” he said.

To learn more about any future basketball programming under the Level Up banner please contact Dimeji at 204-596-6360 or femi.dimeji95@gmail.com.

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