While other students might be taking it easy this summer, 25 students from Excel Academies’ South Shore, Englewood and Roseland campuses, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Options Network, took their hoops skills to the next level at a basketball camp hosted at Excel Academy of South Shore. The camp was sponsored by the schools and Xsposure Runs. Summer 2023 marks the first year of the camp, which will become an annual event thanks to Chicago Public Schools Out-Of-School time (OST) funds and other supplemental grants and donations.

The clinic provided students direct high-level mentoring and coaching to build and hone their individual basketball skills, conditioning, and perspective to work towards being the best basketball player they can be. The camp, held three days a week for three hours from June 13 through July 6, was free for select students and included food and drinks and one hair cut per week.

“The purpose of this camp was to provide a positive space for the students interested in basketball during the summertime,” said Anthony Haley Jr., Ed.D., executive director​, Excel Academy of South Shore. “We incorporated opportunities for mentorship in order to promote positive healthy behaviors in combination with direct training for basketball skills and fitness. This experience hopes to put our student-athletes in a position to contribute at any basketball level they have the choice to participate in.”

Through the sport of basketball student-athletes learned accountability from the perspective of being an individual or being part of a team. They also had the opportunity to learn how to accept and provide constructive criticism when interacting with coaches and peers (teammates).

To participate, attendance was required at summer school every day (minimum of 80% for a week), and students had to be in good standings in alignment to the school’s rating systems of academics, attendance, and behavior.

“Experiencing adversity from the competition provides opportunities to be resilient and to execute positive social behaviors when managing adversity,” said Haley.

He noted a few of the student-athletes received notice from local college coaches. There is also an offer on the table to sponsor a summer travel team with the participants involved.

“If it wasn’t for basketball camp I would be outside, roaming around with my friends and risking my life,” said student Marcus Jones.