Roughly 10 years ago Jarrod West, a former West Virginia University basketball player, started a basketball camp for the children in Lewis County, and is still going strong today.
West said that he was running a camp in Harrison County and several kids from Lewis County were attending that camp and he wanted to find a way to get the camp closer to them.
“I wanted to give back to the community,” said West. “Kids train all year long for basketball and it keeps them out of the street and into something positive.”
West is originally from Natchez, Mississippi, and was recruited to play basketball for WVU. He then met his wife, and they made WV their home.
Most of the children at the Lewis County camp are from Lewis County, around 90 percent, according to West. The camp ran from last Monday to last Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The camp focuses on fundamentals of basketball, shooting, passing, rebounding, defense and offense.
Children participate in a competition and at the end of the camp, awards are given out for Three-on-three champion, One-on-one champion, Hot Shot champion, Free Throw champion, Knockout champion and Camper of the Week.
West said that the Camper of the Week is the camper that shows most spirit, shows the most dedication and shows the best work ethic.
“With this camp we really try to pull the positivity out of the kids and reflect that in the game and in life,” said West.
West also stressed the camp centers around five points: it’s cool to be smart, cling to your support system, always set your goals high, always be a leader, never a follower and keep god first in life.
Several mentors help with the camp, some of which were former campers and some from Lewis County. Two of the mentors are West’s two sons.
This year the camp has 40 campers ranging from Kindergarten to seventh grade for boys and eighth grade for girls.
“We try to have fun and at the same time teach kids life lessons and how to get the most out of their lives,” West concluded.