Basketball is more than a sport. It unifies individuals in ways that are inexplicable.

This camaraderie between players, coaches, parents, and campers was on full display Saturday, Nov. 23 at Batesville High School. The Batesville High School boys basketball program hosted its 6th annual Garrett’s Gang Camp for individuals with special needs this past weekend.

The Garrett’s Gang camp consists of a series of basketball-related activities that the campers participate in under the guidance of the Batesville players. These activities include the stations of free throws, passing, layups, dunking, shooting and dribbling.

Following the stations, the campers participated in a half-court basketball game. Next, they competed in a highly competitive dribbling relay race that brings out the excitement and joy from everyone in attendance. To conclude the camp, the parents, coaches and players take the time to acknowledge the exceptional achievements and accolades of the campers in attendance.

The feedback given from the campers is always wonderful. When asked what makes this camp so memorable every year, camper Nick Jacobs replied, “I like to come back every year because I like when I get to play basketball and be around the players.”

Another camper, Kendra Franklin, was asked what her favorite part about the camp was, and she answered, “My favorite part is getting to meet all the players, the campers, and just being around everyone brings a smile to my face.”

RJ Powell, a varsity player, replied, ”Not only does this put a smile on the campers’ faces, it also puts a smile on our faces.” RJ speaks for all in that aspect, as the joy and pure happiness emitted by everyone is tenfold of what it traditionally is.

Head coach Aaron Garrett asserted, “This is my favorite day of the year. We get to focus on kids that don’t have disabilities, but have special abilities. It’s a great day in terms of our players working with them, giving part of themselves to these kids to make it a great day for them, and on the flip side, these campers get to show us their special abilities. The authenticity, pure joy, passion, and fun is on full display.”

Being in the presence of these individuals is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is unparalleled. They bring unique and remarkable memories to the players and coaches. The impact these individuals will continue to have on everyone is truly unprecedented.

The basketball program would like to thank the campers, parents, coaches and players that make this extraordinary day possible.

Thank you to sponsors Batesville Chrysler and The Garrett Group, who allow the camp to be free of charge. Additional thank-yous to sponsors McDonald’s, Batesville Tool & Die, Jama Cleghorn, the Linkel family and First Financial-Chad Mehlon, who provided the parting gifts.

The team would also like to encourage everyone to come out to the Batesville vs. North Decatur basketball game on Jan. 31 to honor the campers as they will be given an introduction prior to tip-off of the varsity game.

Lleyton Ratcliffe is a BHS junior and varsity basketball player.

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