Williams basketball campers serve at Salvation Army
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Along with the customary shooting, dribbling and rebounding that’s part of every on-court lesson, youngsters who attended this week’s Monty Williams Basketball Camp also picked up an invaluable assist Thursday. At the Salvation Army on Claiborne Avenue, the aspiring hoops players – along with Williams and New Orleans Pelicans assistant coaches – served dinner to over 150 residents of the Center of Hope.
The kids’ volunteer service was part of Williams’ annual goal to ensure that his camp participants learn about more than just becoming a better basketball player.
“We’re teaching our kids that they have an obligation to serve those who don’t have as much as they do,” said Williams, who delivered a prayer before two groups of residents ate dinner. “The Bible says to whom much is given, much is required. I’m trying to share what I’ve been given as much as we can to the people in this city who need it.”
Among the dozens of basketball campers between ages 5 and 16 who volunteered were Williams’ own children. The fourth-year Pelicans head coach noted that his kids’ participation in the Salvation Army meal will be more long-lasting than anything they learn on the Alario Center hardwood this week.
“The most important part is for my kids to see me doing this,” Williams said of hosting the event. “Most guys want their kids to see them winning a championship or scoring 30 or 40 points, but for me, this is more important because I know this is going to add value to their character.”
Williams’ basketball camp began Monday and is taking place all week in Westwego at the team’s current practice facility. In addition to Thursday’s volunteer work, the 41-year-old discusses non-basketball topics with campers on a daily basis.
“We’re trying to give them a broad worldview, because these kids have more to deal with than I did (as a youth),” he noted. “The worst thing you could do when I was a kid was drink a six-pack. These kids have to deal with so much more, from the Internet, all kinds of drugs, broken homes. Things we didn’t have to think about as kids. We have to equip our kids. The themes of this camp have been service and discipline. We’ve talked about those things all week long. This event is just a part of it. It’s important to impart to kids that they have an obligation to serve. I think that’s bigger than the basketball part of (the camp). It’s a great feeling to be able to get out there and be a part of progress and positivity.”