Basketball Smiles Camp 2021

Coach Sam Nichols encourages camper.
Coach Sam Nichols encourages camper to excel.

We’re hopefully optimistic about having camp in 2021

This image, taken at a Basketball Smiles camp held before COVID made its appearance, illustrates what we teach our kids: Don’t ever give up. That’s the approach we’re taking to the challenges that make having a camp this spring impossible. We aren’t going to give up on helping these precious children, who have no other resources supplying their needs.

Because it wasn’t possible to have camp this spring, we are hopefully optimistic we can schedule camp in the fall, preferably in October. There are many unknowns, obviously, but we are going to do everything we can to get back to our kids as soon as it’s safe for our coaches and campers.

We expect our 2021 camp to be our largest ever because it may well include all the children on the neighboring islands after Hurricane Dorian in 2019. These children have no homes to go back to and are attending schools in Nassau. They will be added to the 300 campers who normally attend.

Camp costs approximately $350 per camper. This does not include the cost of our Lace ‘Em Up Initiative to give each camper a new pair of quality athletic shoes. Please join us in showing these boys and girls what love is.

Sending supplies in June 2021

Around June 1, we will be shipping another round of supplies — Clorox, wipes, face masks, hand sanitizer, vitamins, and personal care products to help keep the children well. Basketball Smiles is accepting tax-deductible contributions now. In September 2020, generous donations by Basketball Smiles supporters allowed us to send 997 pounds of desperately needed supplies to our children.

Basketball Smiles shipped 997 pounds of supplies in September.
Sandy Nichols prepares supplies to ship to our boys and girls.

It’s hard for most of us to understand how difficult the lives of our boys and girls are and what a difference Basketball Smiles makes. On top of their usual challenges — no running water or electricity in some of their homes, for example — some of them lost everything except what they had on when they were evacuated to the main island because of the hurricane.

The healthcare system in The Bahamas was overwhelmed by COVID-a9, as it was in many places, and with an economy dependent on tourism that was non-existent, the population has suffered for the basic essentials for life. Among those most deeply affected by the pandemic are the boys and girls we serve through Basketball Smiles.

We were so thankful to Samaritan’s Purse, which deployed an Emergency Field Hospital and a disaster response team to Nassau at the request of the Bahamian prime minister.

We are looking forward to the day when we can resume our annual basketball camps, but until then we will be sending much-needed supplies to help keep our boys and girls well.