PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Kids at a youth basketball camp in Philadelphia are being taught life lessons while getting some exercise and having fun.
Isaiah Thomas, 8, has been attending the Thomas and Woods Foundation basketball camp led by his father, Philadelphia City Councilmember-at-Large Isaiah Thomas, for as long as he can remember.
“It’s usually just a summer thing the last two weeks of the camp. It's really fun,” young Isaiah said.
Chase Williams, 8, says he loves the camp and basketball.
“I have been here for two years, and I like that I just get better and better every time I come here,” he said.
This year the camp has been extended from two weeks to three, and the senior Thomas says he’s never seen so many parents express an interest.
“We have more children signed up for the program than any time in our history, and I think it speaks to the need for quality programming and free resources,” Thomas said.
“We know we have a lot of issues in the city with youth, and we don’t have enough free prevention-based programs.”
Through sport, the camp teaches kids basketball skills, builds character, and imparts life lessons. Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson says the message this year is "Peace, not guns."
“We want to encourage these young people who are participating to live a life of peace not guns and most importantly, love your brother as you love yourself,” Johnson said.
Pa. Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams says this is what is needed in the community right now.
“Certainly we are in an historic period of senseless violence, but we’re also in an historic period where people give and have concern and care for our neighbors — so that’s reflective of this camp,” Williams said.
The camp is in its 10th year and is open to kids ages 6 through 16. It started last week in Kensington. This week it is at Universal Audenried Charter School in South Philadelphia, and next week it moves to Northwest Philadelphia.