A volunteering interview by: Alexander Randolph
Tyler’s Gomes’ job in Hoopstarz was and still is a counselor in charge of teaching young children ages eight to fourteen to play basketball. During Tyler’s time volunteering as a summer camp counselor for Hoopstarz, whose mission statement is to teach basketball and life skills to young campers, his responsibilities included signing campers in, running individual skill stations for beginner level players with about eight to eleven campers at a time, and finally overseeing the lunchtime activities as well as occasionally serving lunch. All of this is in addition to the constant responsibility of overseeing camps with about thirty to forty five young children each week which can be the most difficult task of all Tyler says. Tyler claims to have developed a very large and substantial understanding and ability to communicate with the children. This comes from having to break up and mediate the almost daily disputes that inevitably develop between young children at the camps. This past summer Tyler was promoted to head counselor which put him in charge of about five to seven younger counselors per week. This promotion put him into the position to have to monitor the camp as a whole. This presented a whole new set of challenges such as creating a camp schedule and communicating it to the other counselors in a way that was understandable and made sense to everybody.
Tyler says that the reason that he volunteered is because one of the coaches on his high school basketball team is the founder of Hoopstarz and offered him the opportunity to come for a couple days and observe one of his camps. After the first day being around the children he knew that this was the “one and only way” that he wanted to donate his time. He confided to me that the exact moment of his realization that he wanted to volunteer at Hoopstarz came while he was walking around and viewing the camp activities he took a camper aside and spent ten to fifteen minutes teaching the young boy how to shoot a proper jump shot. Tyler credits both his passion for playing competitive basketball and his newly discovered love of teaching and molding young minds. The combination of these have really helped Tyler to excel at his position.
Tyler admits that one of his original motivations was to be able to spend more time on the basketball court and he credits his time counseling at Hoopstarz with the development of his own abilities as well. Tyler also claims that he has actually learned a multitude of new drills and other basketball activities and is considering moving to coaching basketball as a part time job while he attends college at San Diego State.University. Says Tyler, “I can honestly say that without this volunteer coaching experience I would not be considering coaching this next year”.
The Aha! moment…
Tyler says he has learned too many things to count during his time volunteering at Hoopstarz but the highlights include his vastly increased knowledge of how to manage other people. This has been learned through having to oversee other counselors and ensure that they are teaching the campers to the best of their abilities. This has taught Tyler to be both confident and patient when dealing with others and he also strongly feels that this will help him in his future professional life. The second thing that Tyler says that he has learned is how to manage his time and create practice or camp schedule. He believes that these skills has and will increase his organizational skills. Tyler also feels as though he has learned valuable skills about coaching and communicating basketball to players. This will definitely help him as he looks to try to coach as a part time job in college and he also calls it a great “resume builder”. Another important thing Tyler has learned during his time volunteering as a basketball camp counselor is how to motivate people. At any given time during a day of volunteering he might be called upon to motivate a young camper to do his or her best or a counselor to stay energetic and positive towards the campers. Tyler says that his life skills have been greatly improved during his time at Hoopstarz and says if he could change anything about it he would have started earlier.
To summarize it in three words…
energizing, rewarding, exciting
Why should you do this
Tyler seriously recommends experiencing this unique opportunity to teach young people about the game that he himself is so passionate about.