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Young Hawks learn at basketball camp

The 2022 school year has come to a close, and the students in Thompson Falls are free for the summer. Some of those students have decided to use their free time to give back to their younger schoolmates by helping coach them at basketball camp.

"It's been great," said Jake Mickelson, athletic director for Thompson Falls High School. "The younger kids are having a blast, and the high school kids are here helping out. Everybody is having a good time. It's a good experience for the younger kids and the older kids. We teach the older kids how to coach, and they get hands-on experience coaching the younger kids. They help run all of the drills, they coach the three-on-three teams, and they go around and help out the younger kids as much as they can."

Mickelson started hosting the basketball camp in 2012 not long after he moved to Thompson Falls, and he continues to make sure every kid who wants to participate gets to do exactly that.

"Camp is four days long. We go Monday through Thursday from nine in the morning until three thirty in the afternoon. We coach three groups of kids each day. We have a kindergarten through second grade group, third through fifth, and sixth through eighth," stated Mickelson. "We have some promising young players here. It's always fun to watch the kids progress through the years. I can remember when a lot of these high-school kids first started coming to camp," he added.

One of the young men assisting Mickelson is recent Thompson Falls High School graduate Nathan Schraeder, who has been helping out with the annual summer basketball camp for two years now. Schraeder began attending the camp when he was just a young boy, and it seems that basketball camp has paid off for him.

"Nathan is playing for Rocky Mountain College next year. He has been coming to camp since the third grade, I believe. It has been a lot of fun to watch him grow and mature into a young man," Mickelson said.

It seems an underlying theme of generosity and personal growth is shared amongst all of those helping with the event.

"We are having a lot of fun helping out," said Schraeder. "I have helped with camp for a couple of years now, and it's awesome to see all of the kids that keep coming back each year, and getting to see the kids move up through the age groups has been awesome. It's really great to get to see all of the kids having so much fun."

On the fourth and final day of camp, the children are rewarded for their hard work and dedication. "We give each of the hotshot, free throw and three-on-three champs an award on the last day of camp," said Mickelson. "We also give out camp t-shirts sponsored by Thompson River Lumber to everybody, and we take a group picture. I would like to say a big thank you to the folks at TRL. They have been a huge asset to us in being able to put on this camp."


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