Emma Hennig and Patricia Zamora challenge each other in a game of 1v1 during the Steve Nash Basketball Camp, Friday May 5. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Steve Nash Program a success in Fernie

Basketball program unites five communities on one court

Back in early March, Jen and AJ Kennedy received approval to start up a Steve Nash Basketball program in Fernie. Last Friday, they brought 65 kids together to develop their skills.

”Fernie doesn’t have any kind of club basketball program,” said Jen, two months ago. “So I feel like there is a huge need to compete with other schools who do have these programs, like Jaffray and Cranbrook. They’re always strong every year.”

Elementary and high schools from around the region were invited, including kids from grade one through to 12.

Jen first learned of the Steve Nash Basketball Program through a friend in Jaffray, who runs the program in their area.

“Everybody’s always asking why Jaffray is so strong; (it’s because) their elementary programs are so strong, and they run the Steve Nash Program,” she said.

Enthusiasm for this camp was echoed in five different communities. Youth from Eureka, Jaffray, Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford attended the camp at Fernie Secondary School.

There were 42 in the younger section, and 23 in the older section. The Kennedy’s goal was to have 50 registered kids, so they were thrilled to see an abundance of numbers.

Throughout the day, the coaches took the kids through a variety of drills. These included a range of activities; from the smallest kids shooting and passing, to the older kids practicing defensive shield drills, the Mikan Drill, Blackhawk drills and speedy one-on-one competitions.

The Steve Nash Basketball Program has many goals, the biggest of which is to introduce the sport to elementary school kids at an early age. Another large goal is to get a club team formed for Fernie and the surrounding areas. For this, all they need is numbers. With an over-abundance of kids in the camp this year, Jen Kennedy believes they are on track for this goal.

“We just need numbers,” said Jen. “And I think that we’ll have numbers.”

For Jen, her favourite part about the program is being able to share the passion she has for basketball, with the kids.