The second annual Ball Stars Youth Camp led by former NBA Champions Otis Birdsong and Micheal Ray Richardson was held at Gardens High School during the week of July 24th. The Police Foundation was pleased to be a sponsor of this important Palm Beach Gardens event as part of our Community Outreach program.
Ball Stars Youth Camp is now entering its 10th year under the leadership of these two NBA All Stars and is a free camp provided to underserved children and teens in the local community. This unique summer program educates youth both in basketball and important life skills.
The Camp’s goal is to provide underserved boys and girls with a chance to participate at no cost. In addition to teaching skills on the court, Ball Stars educates camp participants on life skills and brings in influential speakers from both law-enforcement and the private sector to connect with the kids. Several Palm Beach Gardens Police Officers participated in the program and interacted with the campers. Police Chief Stephen Stepp said it gives the kids an opportunity to learn about teamwork from NBA stars and talk with Officers in a positive environment.
Over 125 kids between the ages of 8 and 17 sweated off energy dribbling the ball and dropping for push-ups during the 5 day program – before having a seat in the bleachers for talks on social media safety, drugs and alcohol, bullying, finances and health. “We try to teach the kids first of all about respect and discipline” — and not just for their teachers and parents, Birdsong said. That means looking one another in the eye, giving a firm handshake and being on time for camp each morning.