By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy girls basketball coach Nathan Kopp and company didn’t know what to expect.
“We just wanted to give kids the opportunity to get a basketball in their hands and learn the game a little without the financial restrictions,” he said. “We didn’t know what to expect going in.”
But when the Troy High School girls basketball team hosted its annual Future Trojans youth basketball camp from June 3-5 for girls entering grades 1-8, it did something it hadn’t done before — offered it free of charge to the potential campers in an effort to get more young girls in the area interested in the sport of basketball.
It caused some unforeseen — but not unwelcome — issues.
“We had 91 total elementary and junior high kids come out for the camp, and we only had ordered 72 t-shirts,” Kopp said. “We ended up having to scramble to fill all the orders. It was a great success.
“We had 42 kids preregister, then the Monday before it started, eight or nine more came in the mail. So we were starting off with 50 kids already, and I knew there’d be walk-ups that showed up on the day of the camp. Most years, we have between 40 and 45 kids, so we were really happy about the numbers.”
In the past, the camp has cost roughly $30 or more. But with more and more families across the country finding themselves forced to tighten their wallets, Kopp wanted to make sure the area’s girls still had an opportunity to learn the game.
“I was excited for those kids,” Kopp said. “We wanted to introduce the game to them, put a basketball in their hands and put them in situations where they could enjoy themselves playing and learning. It was a great thing really.”
Made even better by the fact that a number of former Trojans came to join the current varsity high school players in assisting with the camp’s activities.
“We had more than 15 current and former players help with the camp,” Kopp said. “Three or four former players volunteered their time to help us out. It was really nice of them to come out and help us and help these girls. And we even had a number of girls come to participate and learn that weren’t from the Troy area.”
It was such a success, in fact, that the team is already planning to do things the same next year.
“Next year, I hope that number goes to 100,” Kopp said. “It was a great week of basketball, we are excited with the turnout and we’re looking forward to next year — and we are looking at doing a winter camp over Christmas break, too.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.