Where basketball meets life skills

Players learn more than just basketball skills at NBC Camps' Spokane-area camps.

With the March Madness hype fizzled out, the squeaking of rubber on hardwood has become a faint echo. Luckily for basketball diehards it’s almost summer and that means Northwest Basketball Camps (NBC). All summer long NBC offers 5-day overnight camps, shorter half-week camps and weekend camps, all geared toward building better players, if not better human beings.

John Fazio, NBC’s Spokane area director — who started as a coach and has helped run the organization for more than 14 years — explains that NBC’s goal is to apply the skills involved in the game to daily life. There’s a real emphasis on the process of goal setting and discussions about issues that get in the way of becoming a prosperous adults, such as drugs, alcohol and other pitfalls. The camps presents these issues off the court, in sessions that place the coaches as keynote speakers. Each night has a theme that ties into the camps’ larger theme of “Generate Change.” One night of camp focuses on family relationships, and kids practice writing letters home, a much neglected skill in our smartphone-ridden world.

Aside from the loftier goals of the camp, athletes also get lots of playing time, physical training and close contact with camp coaches. Most of the staff is NBC alumni, who then went on to play college ball, and now want to give back to the program. Fazio explains that even though the staff may be younger, they’re “motivated to get into the kids lives, and are about helping and developing kids, not just showing off that they can dunk.”

It all sounds like a great summer camp, but why NBC? Fazio says: “I’m a dad myself and see the value of these good, positive influences,” fostered by the program and instilled by its staff. The organization even offers a chance for students to get out and see the world with its International Traveling Teams. After attending a summer session players can sign up for the international experience the following year. They’ll travel overseas and play with 15-20 other athletes in countries including Italy and Britain.

Even without the international scene, NBC has been successfully helping kids become better ballers since 1971. Now its primary Spokane location is Whitworth University, though some day camps are offered elsewhere. Although the organization primarily focuses on basketball, volleyball camps are also offered. So get the kids out of the house this summer and send them to camp. They’ll be in good hands. n

NBC Basketball Camps • Day and overnight camps offered June-August, dates and times vary based on camp • $155-$425 • • 800-406-3926

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