Bailen basketball camp comes ‘full circle’ to grow the game

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For the past decade Nease High School boys basketball coach Josh Bailen has done his part to grow the sport within the local community through his summer basketball camp.

He started it after arriving at Nease in 2013 and has watched it grow over the years into a summer tradition.

“It’s an honor to help pass it along to the next generation,” Bailen said. “There’s nothing more valuable than making other people better.”

That tradition is evident in the fact that many of the camp’s counselors, who are now students at Nease and members of the basketball program, attended the camp when they were younger.

Nease junior Kemp Howell returned for his second year helping at the camp.

“The little kids really seem to enjoy it,” Howell said. “I went to the same exact camp, so it’s cool now to see it from the other side.”

There are three goals that Bailen wants each participant to take away from his camps.

“Our goals each week are to have fun, get better by learning new skills and to be a great teammate,” Bailen said. “We want the kids to learn skills that are going to translate to their next level of play, whether that would be middle school, JV or varsity.”

The camp’s fun vibe includes participants getting Pop-Ice during breaks and recognition for the group that gets hyped up the most while switching stations.

“If they have fun, they’re going to learn, so that’s a major part of it,” said Nease senior Ty Gebauer, who has been a counselor for the past four years.

He remembers attending the camp himself while in elementary school.

“It’s nice when you see it come full circle,” Bailen said.

According to Gebauer, it is the camp’s longevity that contributes to the unique family atmosphere it has developed over the years.

For the younger participants it gives them the opportunity to imagine what it would be like to play on that court one day as a member of the high school squad.

“It is really important not only for the campers, but it also allows our boys and girls basketball players at the high school to be mentors,” Bailen said. “It can be really powerful experience for them as well.”

This summer, five camp sessions were planned, with each lasting one week and having a new group of campers each time.

Three sessions are in the books with two more remaining, scheduled July 11 to 15 and July 25 to 29.

Spots are still available for the two remaining sessions. Parents can register their child by going to joshbailenbasketball.com or by sending a Venmo to @josh-bailenbasketball with $150 and their child’s name and intended session included.

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