The first day of the 2013 Hoops Creating Hope camp is in the books! At the day’s finish, we had over 170 kids, and over 110 of them were girls! The Crossover volunteer team took a few minutes to reflect on the day’s experience, sharing moments and photos with each other after dinner.

We all agree we could go on and on about how much the campers are touching us with their enthusiasm and smiles, but here are just a few moments that stood out.

Maggie Brown takes in the children of Chennai learning and smiling with Jonah Travis. 

“Basketball never stops, and neither does learning…campers learning from one of the best destined to empower change #hoopscreatinghope” Maggie Brown, College student-athlete, Crossover Volunteer

Kasey Hartung was floored by the distance some campers traveled.

“The first day of Hoops Creating Hope was beyond memorable in countless aspects and certainly surpassed my already high expectations. Numerous extraordinary and remarkable things took place in the AISC gym today, but the most noteworthy was without a doubt when a man and the eight boys that accompanied him checked in and casually brought up in conversation that they had driven an astonishing 400 miles and were staying with friends for the next two weeks just to attend our camp. I felt honored and it warmed my heart to see such a deep dedication to the game and to our camp. I’m looking forward to showing them my similar dedication to the game and to the kids as well within the next two eventful and fun-filled weeks with Crossover.”

-Kasey Hartung, High school student-athlete. Crossover Volunteer

Raj Mundra observed numbers of girls eagerly waiting for registration.

“I was at the registration desk today and I saw so many girls smiling in line patiently waiting to register for the camp.  At one point, I counted 22 girls in a row who were eager to participate in Crossover!  The layers of significance of that moment were a bit overwhelming and brought deeper meaning to our work here.”

– Rajesh Mundra, Crossover Volunteer Experience Coordinator

Carie Small overwhelmed by the number of female participants. 

“I was beyond impressed to see more than 100 young girls show up to the first day of camp. Well over half the participants were female and each and every one of them was excited to play ball and learn. To see this in a culture where girls aren’t necessarily supported or encouraged to play sports shows how much times are changing and reinforces the importance of this program to keep the momentum. My favorite part of the day was observing the interactions between the high school and college students who traveled here with Crossover and the campers. Different ages, different backgrounds, all connecting over their love of basketball, not one without a smile on their face. It was touching because these moments live well beyond the court. I’m so proud of them all. ”  – Carie Small, Crossover Volunteer

Zach Fitzgerald describes his first day in a poem.

The Starting Block  (Haiku)

Day one, where it starts

The kids pour into the gym

All display large grins

Zachary Fitzgerald, 13, Crossover Volunteer

Akshay Mundra touched by the excitement of the children.

“My favorite moment of the first day of Crossover was the excitement of the kids when they were leaving the gym to go home. Every child demanded high five or fist bump before they left to go home. Although they were all drenched in sweat after working hard for three hours, every single kid had a huge smile on their face. Even one girl whose feet must have been exhausted after not wearing any shoes for the whole time, showed no signs of fatigue, just joy. Seeing the eyes of the children light up and be so excited to come back was definitely my favorite moment of the day.” -Akshay Mundra, 13, Crossover Volunteer

Neha Soneji Contractor, Girl Power!

CO tweet

George Baldini amazed how basketball brings people together, makes change.

“Slowly starting to fit in and understand our schedule, I’ve grown to really like this camp. I really didn’t know what to expect or even what we were even going to do before we left. Now I can truly appreciate the positive impact of basketball both on and off the court as it is changing lives. In school, they are discouraged to ask questions to their teachers if they don’t understand the material. Successfully getting them to actively participate and become engaged warms my heart. We’re changing the culture. On the court, I was amazed about how basketball can bring people together. Teaching and coaching are both aspects I’d like to pursue in my future and witnessing the success and positive impact on them makes me that much more eager to get to that part of my life.  I can’t wait for the upcoming days and see what they have in store for us.” – George Baldini, high school student-athlete, Crossover Volunteer

Jonah Travis overwhelmed by eager campers.

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I mean this picture pretty much says it all for me. This is what I came here for.” – Jonah Travis, Harvard Student-athlete, Crossover Volunteer

John Gillespie enjoyed watching campers try new things and improve skills.

“During the first day of camp, I was assigned to the individual skill station. One of the most memorable moments for me was when we were running basic form shooting drills. We had the players line up at different baskets and take turns putting up shots within close range of the hoop using only their dominant hand, while really accentuating the wrist flip to put that nice backspin on the ball. At first the kids were really skeptical of it because it’s something completely different from what they had been doing. It’s also somewhat awkward at first and doesn’t feel right so I think some of them didn’t necessarily understand it. However, after several attempts, most of them started to get the hang of it. As the campers would make shots with this new form, the look on some of their faces was priceless.” – John Gillespie, Student, Crossover Volunteer

Jon Metzgar touched by smiles before camp even began.

“With the first day of the Crossover Basketball Hoops For Hope basketball camp being over, all the counselors as a group reflected on this very special day by sharing their favorite moments from day one. My favorite moment was a great one that I’ll always remember. When I was assigned to the registration counter with Kasey, I didn’t think that that task would be a part of my favorite day-one moment: but it was. The great part of the moment was watching the kids make their way over to Kasey and me, with extremely, genuinely excited looks on their faces. As an empathetic person, I understand why this opportunity is such a great thing for the kids, due to their backgrounds and tough life situations. Seeing the looks on these kids’ faces made both of us really happy, and we couldn’t wait to give the kids the opportunity they deserve: a chance to play basketball, and use the greatest game to shape their futures.” – Jon Metzgar, high school student-athlete, Crossover Volunteer

Follow the Crossover team on facebooktwitter and instagram or search for the hashtag #HoopsCreatingHope for more photos and videos from the volunteers.

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