The YMCA is an organization that is able to uplift and motivate kids in exciting ways that capture their interests and that they can connect with. One such way is through sports mentoring. Here at the YMCA Camp Weaver we had the opportunity to reconnect with one of our past sports mentors, Demetrius Robinson, and look back at his experience with sports mentoring.
We first met Demetrius in the summer of 2012. He was a basketball player at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a rising senior getting his undergraduate degree in Business Administration, and excited about the opportunity to use what he loves, sports, to help the kids at Camp Weaver.
Over the summer Demetrius filled the role as a basketball camp counselor, and fit into it naturally. At Camp Weaver each camper chooses three skill-building activities that they will build on throughout the week in the mornings and the afternoon activities are left unscheduled for them to decide every day. Demetrius led these morning sessions and the campers who had signed up for his activity would train daily on the basketball camp and build on the skills they were learning through the week. Demetrius would teach the kids basic basketball skills like dribbling and shooting. After they practiced these they would then apply the basic elements of basketball into traditional basketball games and other types of games.
Demetrius’ role was not only teaching them basketball skills however, but also involved teaching the campers other skills to help them grow up to be great people. Demetrius saw and implemented the life lessons and values that apply both on the court and off the court. The main lessons he related were that when you fall down you keep getting back up, be tough through adversity and the value of hard work. The sports mentor was able to teach these lessons to the kids through the games and the drills they practiced every day. Sometimes the kids were struggling or they would get down on themselves because they couldn’t do a basketball drill well and Demetrius was able to teach them the values he knew basketball represented to help them get through these feelings of defeat. As Demetrius put it, “When they were down I would teach them that it wouldn’t happen overnight; they would have to put in hard work and keep practicing until they reached their goal.”
Overall Demetrius said that besides getting to play endless games of knock-out with the kids, his favorite part of his YMCA experience as a sports mentor was, “being able to share information with the kids and be someone that they could look up to and act as a role model for them. I really enjoyed being able to be a positive influence on the lives of those campers.”
Demetrius is now a graduate student getting his Master of Business at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Despite the workload he still practicing basketball and is even a graduate assistant for UNC-Charlotte’s women’s basketball team.
Through the great mentor’s of the YMCA, communities are able to continue helping kids build skills and confidence through sports and other activities and help maintain happy and healthy lifestyles.