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Basketball Camp gives Youth Teaches Book Smarts and Life Lessons
By By Amanda Scurlock
Published August 5, 2015
George Weaver interacting with students on the first day of the Books and Basketball Camp, August 3, 2015 (Amanda Scurlock/ LA Sentinel)

George Weaver interacting with students on the first day of the Books and Basketball Camp, August 3, 2015 (Amanda Scurlock/ LA Sentinel)

The Brotherhood Crusade is having its 11th annual Jim Cleamons Books and Basketball Camp on August 3-7 at Augustus Hawkings High School in Los Angeles. The week-long day camp is for children ages 9 to 15.

Retired NBA player Jim Cleamons sat down with retired NBA player James Jones, Brotherhood Crusade president and CEO Charisse Bremond Weaver and George Weaver to come up with ways to give back to the community. From that meeting, they created a unique day camp that goes beyond teaching youth how to improve their basketball skills.

“We first started the camp 11 years ago with 40 young people to now over 100 youth each year participating in this program,” Charisse said.

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Youth will learn a myriad of skills both on and off court. The camp teaches academics, financial literacy, and chess, according to the Brotherhood Crusade website.

“We know summertime is a time where academics sometimes is a void in South Los Angeles,” Charisse said.

The schedule for the children is determined by age, children  aged 9-11 have a different schedule than kids aged 12-15.  According to Charisse, the activities aim to interest kids in different ways.

“The kids, they love the chess component, but more importantly they are just engaged,” said Charisse.

Several companies are sponsors and supporters of the week-long camp. The California Science Center hosted the STEM classes and representatives from Chase will teach financial literacy, according to Charisse. In the past, students learned about budgeting by being given a false profile including a set number of kids and income, according to Weaver.

“We do real life scenarios,” she said. “Kids will get a budget and each kid has a different profile.”

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The Books and Basketball camp boasts 18 coaches, including former NBA players and college-level coaches.

Aaron James, a former NBA player and assistant professor of kinesiology at Grambling State University, will be a participating coach this year, along with Bobby Porter, a high school basketball coach from Utah.

Every day, guests stop by to speak at the camp. This year, speakers include Chase Senior VP Malcolm Johnson, Los Angeles Economic Work force Development General Manager Jan Perry, and Los Angeles Sparks president Christine Simmons.

In the past, retired NBA player A.C. Green, Houston Rockets guard Trevor Ariza, City Attorney Mike Feuer and actress Wendy Raquel Robinson have stopped by the camp, according to Charisse.

“That’s one of my favorite aspects of the camp,” said Weaver in regards to the speakers. “So many people give back to our young people.”

The Brotherhood Crusade offers several programs in professional development, financial literacy and youth development, according to the organization website.

“The more that we can help young people know that they’re not in this by themselves, I think the greater success our young people in South Los Angeles and surrounding communities will have,” said Charisse.

Categories: Sports
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