Whitfield Hosts AU Camp, HoopTee
July 12, 2012
After 25 years in Greensboro, North Carolina, Bobcats President & Chief Operating Officer Fred Whitfield led the Achievements Unlimited Camp at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina for the third time in as many years.
At a quick glance, the program looks like an ordinary basketball camp, but it is much more.
“Less than one percent of basketball players even get a chance to try out (for the NBA), so less than half of one percent becomes a pro athlete,” said Whitfield. “We try to do our part to make sure they’re prepared for life after basketball.”
To better educate youth about drug abuse, campers are given a list of words to study over the course of the week. Key vocabulary includes terms such as “alcoholism,” “lethargy” and “hallucination”. The set of words are tied into everything that the camp does during the week including individual contests (Free Throw, Hot-Shot, One-on-One) and Thursday’s team championship games.
At the end of an individual contest, a participant’s vocabulary quiz score is added to the score posted in the particular competition, which allows campers with a higher quiz total to literally win by the books. The winner of the team championship games is determined by the average team quiz score, added to the team’s final basketball score.
In addition, trophies and plaques are not awarded. Instead, campers receive an autographed dictionary, signed by successful student-athletes that visit the camp to share their life lessons. By establishing a realistic approach that there is life beyond basketball, AU helps build each attendee’s foundation for success.
Aside from signing dictionaries, current and former professional athletes are invited to serve on a panel that reinforces the importance of education and promote an anti-drug abuse lifestyle to AU campers. Thursday’s NBA speaker series was embodied by former NBA players Bruce Bowen, Dell Curry and Alonzo Mourning and was facilitated by ESPN’s Mike Hill.
“Life has options,” Mourning announced to the campers. “You create new options with the decisions that you make, and it starts with the decisions you make in the classroom.”
AU campers left the Ardrey Kell High School facilities Thursday evening with refined basketball skills, but perhaps more importantly, a high value for good decision-making.
Following their appearance at the Achievements Unlimited Camp, the panel members met other high-profile individuals on the links, to tee off in the 10th Annual HoopTee Celebrity Golf Classic at Ballantyne Golf Club. This year’s star-studded guest list included Bobcats guard Matt Carroll, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera and Bobcats Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Jordan.
Although AU Camp is value-packed, the $285 registration fee is a tough cost for many families to incur. The HoopTee Celebrity Classic provides a source of raising funds, which in turn are dedicated to allowing more than half of the camp’s youth to attend for at no cost, each year. Whitfield awards the AU Camp scholarships funded by the golf tournament to local community-based organizations such as the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club and Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte, whom then offer free camp registration to deserving children in need of financial assistance.
“All these very successful athletes have gone to college, gotten their degrees and become very articulate,” said Whitfield. “They’re still involved in sports; still able to stay intact with something they really love, something that they would have no chance doing that if they had not gotten their education.”
For 28 years, with the likes of many compassionate friends supporting his cause, Whitfield continues to transform children’s lives through the Achievements Unlimited Camp.