Camp opens doors for kids


My recent questions of “Do I know enough Spanish?” and “Will many people come to the sports camp at Campamento Canaan in Salcedo, Dominican Republic?” were answered quickly.

The answers are, no, I don’t know enough Spanish. I know just enough to be dangerous. To the second question, yes. It reminded me of the line “build it and they will come” from the movie “Field of Dreams.”

For a camp that hosts 250 campers, it had to house more than 300 people, including staff, for a three-day camp.

The camp which was built by many volunteers from Seymour Christian Church, among others, has hosted a sports camp (basketball and volleyball) since 2008.

Seymour resident and camp director Donna Sullivan and her host directors decided to start the sports camp then.

Who better to start a sports camp than former IU volleyball player and Hall of Fame basketball coach Sullivan?

This is the first year that Sullivan, youth pastor Dan Weaver and their staff of Jackson County volunteers have hosted basketball and volleyball tournaments at the camp.

In previous years, they mainly taught basketball and volleyball skills to the Dominican children.

The directors bought T-shirts and wristbands, with the help of sponsors from Seymour.

For the first time ever, they bought trophies for the tournament champions and MVPs.

“For them (Dominicans) the opportunity to compete is not an everyday thing,” Sullivan said. “This is probably only the second or third time they’ve competed; and for some, it’s the first time.”

As Americans, we think that everyone in the world gets to compete, but that’s not true.

Sullivan has enjoyed seeing the kids develop their skills during the past seven years.

The basketball and volleyball tournaments went great.

While names like Luiz Jose Imbart, Joel Medina and Diony Richardo are not household names, these boys, all 15-years-old, have developed their skills tremendously.

Imbart poured in 29 points, Medina added 20, and Richardo added 19 in the championship game.

The winning team in each game celebrated as if it had won a world championship.

It was quite emotional.

One question I failed to ask myself is, “Will I miss these children as they leave the camp?”

The answer is, yes, they’ve only been gone for one hour, and I miss them already.

I pray that I will see them again someday.

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