Striving to make a positive impact on the local youth in Baldwin County and spread the love of basketball throughout the community, Georgia College plans to host its 25th annual Pee Wee Basketball Camp July 22-26 in the Centennial Athletic Center.
Since the first camp 25 years ago, the GC women’s basketball coaching staff has helped develop the game of young aspiring players from a fundamental standpoint while making the game fun.
“The purpose behind Pee Wee camp was to show kids the basic fundamentals of playing the game of basketball,” John Carrick, former GC women’s basketball coach, said. “During that time  they didn’t have a lot of camps offered to the younger kids, and we wanted to really teach the game of basketball and make sure they had fun at the same time.”
While the Pee Wee camp has experienced much success throughout the community, Carrick admits that it could not be possible without the help of others contributing to the camp from the beginning.
“I asked the athletic director then, Mike Peeler, about starting the camp and he said go for it. He agreed and thought that it would be great for this community,” he said. “We have had great assistance over the years. Local coaches Johnny and Jack Williams have been a part of the camp the entire 25 years and the success of this camp can be contributed to their great help over the years.”
Current Lady Bobcats head basketball coach, Maurice Smith, and his staff maintains success of the camp as they have implemented competitive games to adapt to today’s youth.
“We have a lot of what we call, ‘Contest Carnivals.’ These are highly competitive games that the campers really get involved with,” Smith said. “They’re fun things that actually work on their skill development too, so it keeps them involved but make them better.”
Building on the tradition Carrick left behind, Smith continues to use the Slam Dunk contest, as well as the Pee Wee NBA and College leagues that conclude with championship games in front of parents and friends at the end of the week on GC’s main court.
“It’s neat because all the parents come, grandparents, family members, and they sit there in those stands and cheer their kids on; it’s a playoff-type atmosphere,” Smith said. “Last year we implemented a parent-child game. That was fun.”
Smith believes it is the tradition of the camp that Carrick left behind and GC’s state-of-the-art facilities that set the camp apart from others in the area.
“I feel like we were the first ones to start Pee Wee camps, and that’s all credit to John Carrick,” Smith said. “Also just the facilities that we have, you know, we utilize our awesome facilities here at Georgia College, whether it be our Centennial Center where we play the games, we go over to the cafeteria, we’ll bring them into the locker room and give them a tour of the place.”
After 25 years, Smith hopes to continue making a positive impact on local youth and keeping them coming back for more each summer.
“Most of the time they’re going to go somewhere, with little kids, and a lot of times they’re somewhere they don’t want to be,” he said. “So we want to create that need and help them be here, and want to be here, enjoy being here and look forward to coming every year.”
For more information on the Georgia College Pee Wee Basketball Camp call the Bobcat Athletic Office at 478-445-1779 or visit www.gcbobcats.com.