Five-year-old Alicea Nix dribbled a basketball inside the Copperas Cove High School gym Wednesday while she learned about the sport and ran through fundamental drills.
At the beginning of the four-day camp, Alicea’s ball control was nonexistent, but now she was moving the ball up and down the court with ease.
“When she started, the ball was going everywhere,” said her mother, Lydia Nix.
While visiting Copperas Cove from Georgia for about a month, the Nixes were excited to find that Copperas Cove High School offers summer camps for athletes.
Alicea is one of several hundred children the Bulldawg coaches will instruct during the summer through the school and Communities Helping Americans Mature, Progress and Succeed athletic summer camps.
“Working with kids is a good thing,” said Reb Brock, Copperas Cove assistant athletic director. “It is fun to ... watch them go through the camps and then see them come up through the program. You do it to see the kids grow.”
Brock said the athletic camps, which have run for several years, keep children active and teach them a sport they can play for life such as basketball, soccer and football.
Children who participate in the program may not play high school, college or professional ball, but they are learning the fundamentals, said Billy White, the Bulldawgs’ head basketball coach.
“Once you learn the fundamentals of the game ... you can go on (anywhere) from there,” White said.
Brock said the camps also teach children integrity, character, discipline and hard work. It is something students in high school also are learning and being reminded about.
“Kids crave that, and a lot of times they don’t get that,” he said.
While the camps are conducted for children, Brock said the school district benefits as well.
Copperas Cove ISD has “a complete program” because of the camps, Brock said. Coaches don’t only get to watch the children grow, but they also can groom them for high school sports.
“We are one high school town, and it puts pride in the community,” Brock said. “When we talk about growing up to be a Dawg, that is not just athletics; we are talking band, choir, cheerleading, the Copperettes.”
By improving sports skills and working on children’s abilities, Brock said the district also is keeping students engaged in school.
“That is the window to schools,” he said. “You keep them successful by keeping active.”
Some children wouldn’t be in school if it wasn’t for sports and other extracurricular activities, Brock said. These activities keep them engaged until they find something they love to do.
Finding something, she loves to do is why Alicea was in the basketball camp, Nix said. She wanted to sign up for all the sports camps offered through the program, but had to miss soccer because it was at the same time as basketball.
“She loves it,” Nix said. “It is important because it helps them get their extra energy out and teaches them team spirt.”
Jazmine Goode, 7, also was enrolled in the basketball camp. She was having a good time and learning, said her mother, Maria Goode.
“As a parent, I want her to try everything she can,” Goode said. “I want her to do everything she wants.”