Miami Heat

Here’s what happens when you mix youth leadership and sports: Camp Hoop Heroes

Kids and board members line up to take a shot at the basket during Camp Hoop Heroes at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, as part of the national program After-School All-Stars.
Kids and board members line up to take a shot at the basket during Camp Hoop Heroes at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, as part of the national program After-School All-Stars. pportal@miamiherald.com

Alongside donors and board members, over 30 campers shot free throws for a six-minute game in a Miami Heat practice facility at the American Airlines Arena (AAA).

Both the middle-school aged kids and (notably) older players were equally successful — in missing almost every basket.

The kids were participating in Camp Hoop Heroes, which is part of the national youth leadership program After-School All-Stars (ASAS).

ASAS provides daily, after-school programming during the academic term, servicing about 2,000 kids per school year in South Florida. Topics ranging from college preparedness to health and nutrition are provided at participating schools.

Camp Hoop Heroes exposes roughly 600 kids from Title 1 federally funded schools to a variety of sports careers over one week.

With field-trips to ASAS partners like FOX Sports, the Miami Marlins and the Miami Heat, the campers’ education extend beyond just playing sports.

“I always say that gangs provide a service to kids, but it’s a negative service,” said Sean Prospect, the executive director of South Florida’s ASAS chapter. “Kids want a place to belong, a place of acceptance. What we try to do is to provide that in a more positive atmosphere.”

The campers find mentors in the staff and friends in each other. Often, they consider the name ‘All-Star’ an identity more so than a summer program, Prospect said.

On Wednesday, July 19, donors and alumni were invited to meet the kids and learn about the programming firsthand.

After practicing in the gym, the donors sat down with the kids over dinner. Providing career and academic advice, the alumni answered questions about sports just as well as questions regarding college.

Tomi Rose, a board member of one year, wasn’t surprised by the camp, especially after previously visiting ASAS schools.

“I’m honored actually, to be a part of such an amazing program,” said Rose, a TV personality and senior vice president of Opulence International Realty. “I’m very honored to have been asked to be on the board, and I work hard to make sure I contribute to the program and the kids. ... At the end of the day, it’s all for the kids.”

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