In a time when COVID is wreaking havoc on some traditional summer events, one favorite will go on, with a new spin on it.
Chris “Handles” Franklin, of the Harlem Globetrotters, presented “The Ultimate Spin Basketball Camp” on Friday’s episode of Community Conversations with Mayor Eric Papenfuse.
This is the 18th annual camp that gives youth a chance to learn skills from a professional. Typically an in-person event, the 18th annual camp will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was important for us to provide something for kids to do, in a positive way, especially during the pandemic,” Franklin said. “We are honored to bring this back to the city.”
The Chris Handles Franklin Foundation is a nonprofit, founded by Franklin in 2014, that provides community outreach to the Harrisburg area, his hometown, focusing especially on youth.
Franklin wanted to make sure all kids had access to this year’s camp and decided to make it free to the first 100 who signed up. Free registration may be extended to more students if there is demand and donations to support it, he added.
The online camp for kids around ages 9 to 16 will run from Aug. 3 to 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will be provided with a kit including a basketball, cones, a t-shirt, mask and hand sanitizer. Franklin explained that, for the first hour of instruction, campers can practice drills from home, while the second-hour drills require access to a court.
“Our camp focuses on a number of things, not just basketball skills, but also building young leaders and putting a positive message into our youth,” Franklin said. “A lot of the kids that have been through my camp through the years, they continue to do positive things in the community.”
The basketball lessons are being filmed at Reservoir Park for campers to stream online.
“If you’re like me and you have kids, they are looking for things to do this summer,” Papenfuse said. “Everything has been so impacted by COVID that there have been fewer options than usual. Well, we’ve got a great one.”
To register for “The Ultimate Spin Basketball Camp,” email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Chris Handles Franklin Foundation, visit https://handlesfoundation.org/. To watch past Community Conversations, visit the City of Harrisburg’s YouTube channel.