Former NBA pros teach youth at camp
By Airman 1st Class George Cloutier, 9th RW Public Affairs
/ Published March 12, 2007
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (ACCNS) -- Two former Sacramento Kings players hosted a basketball camp for Beale youth in appreciation for the efforts of Team Beale.
Kids ages 6 to 14 filled the Harris Fitness Center basketball and tennis courts for three hours Sunday afternoon and participated in professional basketball drills lead by two former Sacramento Kings players, Harold Presley and Franklin Edwards. The event was a team effort between Sierra Central, the 9th Services Squadron and the Youth Center.
"Basketball is my favorite sport and I love it here," said Bruce Anderson, a fourth grader at Lone Tree Elementary School.
Brig. Gen. H. D. Polumbo Jr., 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, provided opening statements for the day's activities, thanking the youth center, the 9th Services Squadron and Sierra Central for putting on the event, and also stuck around to help the kids out with their drills.
"This is a great event, which will hopefully inspire kids to get involved in sports like basketball and to stay fit and healthy," the general said. "More than anything though, it's about having fun."
The general's sentiments were shared by many parents in attendance, who found the event great for the kids and families, and were also appreciative of Mr. Presley and Mr. Edwards for sharing their time with Beale's youth.
"My son, Noah, is here participating, and I think it's a great opportunity," said Tech Sgt. Steve Bugayong, finance NCO for the 396th Recruiting Squadron at Los Angeles Air Force Base. "It brings the community together and it gives the kids some basic fundamentals of basketball. I think they're having a lot of fun."
"It's nice that these guys take their time to come out here and see our kids and teach them a few different drills they may see in their own practices," said Tech. Sgt. Brent Biddle, 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels quality control technician, while his daughter Mariah, a fourth grader at Lone Tree Elementary School, was out on the court.
The professional athletes who led the camp also had great things to say about their experience.
"We're here today because we want to give back to the community," Mr. Presley said.
"We wanted to show our appreciation for all the people who are in the military who risk their lives for us here in America."
Mr. Presley said the camp is also about letting kids know about the opportunities that are available to them.
"We're doing it for the kids to let them know that there is more to life than the every day, ordinary, get up and go to school," Mr. Presley said. "We want to let them know that no matter what is going on, you have a chance to do something special."
"This is just a special day," Mr. Edwards said. "I think what the kids don't realize is that this means just as much to us as it does them. I wish we could do this a couple (of) times a year, but we do it when we can. The kids have a great time, they come and learn, they get to play and not have the pressure of being a military child for a few hours."