One on One Basketball is running the Hoops and Hope Tour in cities throughout the USA. The idea is to run free one day basketball camps in each of these cities. The head of the tour is Brett Isaacson, the Regional Director for Maryland. Brett and his fiancé Vanessa are moving out to Austin, TX to start a new One on One office and they wanted to do something special along the way. They are traveling in their trusty RV named Rhonda and are having a great time.
So far, six cities have signed on with more to come. One on One is so excited to be a part of this adventure and it all started in Camden, NJ.
Camden has one of the highest crime rates in the USA (http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/crime-rates/top100dangerous/). When one thinks of Camden they probably think of guns, drugs, and untapped potential. However, this is because the real side of Camden is never publicized. The Camden we know is one where those with opportunity are taking full advantage. Where those who go away for college come back to live because they have immense pride in restoring their city's reputation. Where the mayor herself, a lifelong resident who lost both parents at a young age, will come out to support a community led basketball tournament. This is the real Camden.
So what did One on One do and who did they meet?
The first camp was July 12th at the Camden County Boys & Girls Club. Guy Still, the Director of the Club, was born and raised in Camden, left to work in the entertainment industry, but came back because he wanted to help his community. He is the director at what has quickly become a pillar of the Camden community. The kids there were just like kids in any other city in the USA. They were excited to learn and filled the gym with enthusiasm.
The second day in Camden was very special. Brett and Vanessa teamed up with Jose and Ray Martinez, two brothers who ran Ray's Youth Basketball League. The league was created in honor of Ray's son, who was also named Ray. The younger Ray died in a tragic shooting when he was 16. The elder Ray and his brother Jose put together a league for young men ages 16-24 to keep them doing something positive. They have added in mentoring as well. One on One helped sponsor and run a one day tournament for the teams in the league. The mayor of Camden, Miss Dana Redd, even came out to enjoy the festivities. It was an awe-inspiring event that brought young men from all over the city together for a fun yet competitive day of hoops and hope.
Brett and Vanessa felt so at home in Camden and they can't wait to get back there to see their new friends again.