The Washington Times - April 18, 2011, 10:11PM


It’s possible that the future John Wall or Alana Beard might be practicing his or her ball handling skills at the Bowie Gymnasium this week, but that’s not really the point.


“Camp is not about winning and losing; it’s about having fun making new friends and trying to learn something new. That’s what camp should be about,” said Pamela Kirkland, one of the counselors for the Wizards-Mystics Spring Break Camp.

The camp is being held during the week of April 18 – 22 at three different locations - Bowie, Chevy Chase, and Alexandria, and is open to boys and girls from eight to 17.

“Everybody isn’t going to be LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, but everybody should be active. And if they like this sport, there are still aspects of it that you can learn and at a pace where it’s not intimidating, and learn from people who know what they’re doing,” Kirkland said.

But while James and Bryant are otherwise occupied at the moment, the campers can expect a visit from former Wizards and Bullets players and current Mystics players during the week. Players are tentatively scheduled to visit with the campers’ at all three locations.

Kirkland, who played basketball at Seton Hall and has been coaching in youth programs for several years, said it’s also important that the players learn some basics of the game.

“The focus [of this camp] is for the kids to get some fundamental experience as well as have fun,” Kirkland.

It’s also one of the first events of the year where the Wizards and Mystics begin their joint community outreach efforts heading into the spring and summer, and there is no fan base like a young fan base. The Spring Break Camp is the first in a series of camps that will be held throughout the summer beginning in June and running until the end of August.

“This [camp] gives kids a positive environment. We expose them to proper, fundamental basketball. It’s also keeping the Wizards and the Mystics brand in the public eye,” said Clinton Crouch, the director for Wizards and Mystics Spring Break Camp.

“We want them to pick up different skills and fundamentals that they didn’t show up here with. We want them to have as much fun as possible, and become better and more complete basketball players by the end of the week,” Crouch said.

“This week is all about making sure kids have a great, safe time playing basketball.”