With campus emptier than usual during summer quarter at Western, the university is able to open up its dorms, dining halls and other facilities for different youth summer camps, including the boys basketball team camp.
Tony Dominguez, Western’s men’s basketball head coach, leads this camp. He has been head coach for four years and has been affiliated with the basketball camp for more than 20 years.
High school boys’ teams from all along the West Coast travel to Western for this camp, and Dominguez said he believes that his camp is different from others.
“We don’t usually treat camps like a lot of colleges, it’s not just a fundraiser, that’s just part of it,” Dominguez said. “We actually take it very seriously. We are here reaching out to kids around the state.”
Campers don’t just focus on basketball, although it does take up most of their day. The participants also learn and benefit from team building and team bonding, Dominguez said.
Not all teams are local, so the teams get a chance to travel together and get to see how they work on the road with each other, Dominguez said.
“It gets the campers from around the Northwest to come down,” said Greg Meier, head assistant men’s basketball coach at Western. “They get to see how beautiful Western’s campus is.
Coaches and their teams have the opportunity to play games against teams they wouldn’t normally face. This can be beneficial for the teams because they learn how to work with each other in stressful situations that won’t be on their record, Dominguez said.
Dominguez stressed the fact that this camp helps the boys outside of the game of basketball, both individually and as a team. Campers learn team-building skills during clinics that are held throughout the day by Dominguez and Meier.
“They have to learn how to work hard, they can’t be lazy,” Dominguez said. “It helps them work well with groups, working with coaches, learning how to meet new people at dinner time, breakfast and lunch.”
Daily clinics are held in order to focus on skills they can use outside of the camp.
“I put them through a workout that we do and practice on a daily basis so they can see what college players do and how they go through individual workouts,” Meier said. “The campers can take these workouts and put them into work outside of camp and get better once they leave here.”
Because teams from all over the west coast attend the camp, it creates a space for the campers to be placed in a social situation outside of school, allowing to them learn to make connections with different communities they are used to, Dominguez said.
The directors, coaches and staff generate a healthy, positive environment which allows the campers to build character, develop a work ethic and be independent for a weekend.
“People just love the campus as a whole and love being a part of Western for the week,” Meier said.
“We make it fun,” Dominguez said. “They get to be independent, away from mom and dad, staying over night, being in a safe environment and being able to enjoy themselves without being stressed.”
Because Western has won the Division II National Championship and also been to the Final Four, it attracts teams and campers from all over the state to register for this camp, Meier said.
“When people see that you have success it means that we are doing something right,” Meier said.