DALLAS – Summer is in full swing across North Texas and that means Dallas Mavericks summer hoops camps are also back in session.
The Mavs Academy recently got the green light to host in-person events again after going online for COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
This week, the Mavs Academy jump-started the summer season with hoop camps at Keller Central High and the University of Texas at Dallas.
Each location has 60 campers for a total of 120 youth participating in Mavs-sanctioned events this week.
Student-athletes of all ages are learning key fundamentals, sportsmanship, and excitement of the game in a fun atmosphere with top-notch coaches.
Ben Hunt is the Youth Basketball Director for the Mavs and oversees all Mavs Academy basketball programs with the franchise. He said it’s an exciting time for the kids, parents, staff and coaches.
“Getting back in the gym today for the first time in 15 months was fantastic,” Hunt enthusiastically shared. “We were excited to be back in person and get to engage and impact the campers with a true Mavs Experience once again. Today was everything we hoped it would be and more.”
The Mavs Academy has numerous camps scheduled for this summer, with locations all across North Texas.
One thing that makes the Mavs Academy unique is the organization aims to reach children in various pockets all across the region.
Many times camps will just choose one location and stay there for the entire summer. However, the Mavericks aim to give all youth a chance to attend one of their camps and strategically set up locations that are convenient for all families.
This summer will also be a special time because for the first time in Mavs Academy history, the organization will host an All-Girls Hoop Camps. The event is part of the Mavericks’ newly launched initiative called GEM — which stands for Girls Empowered by Mavericks — and was co-founded by Mavs Academy coach Kelli Robinson.
With the support of the Mavs behind them, Robinson and two other Mavericks employees, Becca Brown and Lisa Byrd hit the ground running. The three of them formed a coalition in hopes of creating sustainable change and influence among girls between 9-14.
The age group was selected because studies show that more girls drop out of sports in that age group than any other. The Women’s Sports Foundation even identifies age 14 as the most pivotal age for girls because that’s when young women decide whether to participate or drop out in sports.
“We wanted to develop a safe, emotionally and physically, environment for young girls to be themselves,” said Robinson. “We want to ignite this hope and belief inside them where they fully understand their potential.”
In early January 2020, the idea for GEM was officially born, but it would take over a year of hard work, research and extensive interviews with young girls to create a program that would drive sustainable change and reach young women in meaningful ways. The Mavericks got an extra boost when UT Southwestern Medical Center, a public academic health science center in Dallas, jumped at the chance to serve as GEM’s title sponsor.
Working together, the Mavs and UT Southwestern truly desire to create a program that will champion the future generation of young women.
Next week, the Mavs Academy will see the fruits of their labor come to life with the first GEM All-Girls Hoop Camp.
Hunt said he’s especially thrilled on a personal level because both of his daughters will attend next week’s camp.
“The All-Girls Hoop Camp is not just about learning the game of basketball, but it will give campers an opportunity to engage with others, be inspired, and feel empowered,” Hunt added. “My two daughters will be there, and they cannot wait!”
Spots are still open for All-Girls Camp, along with many other Mavs Hoop Camps planned this summer in North Texas.
For a full list of events and to register your child or teen, click here.