Gates County Community Partnership and the Gates County Community Center sponsored the “Elite Skills 4 Day Basketball Camp” on July 8th through July 11th.  This free event took place at the Gates County Community Center.  “The children totally enjoyed themselves as they learned about basketball and life.  It was important for us to stimulate the kids athletically and intellectually in a safe and positive environment,” stated Gates County Community Partnership Director Benjamin C. Saunders, Jr.

The four day camp separated participants into two age groups, 6 to 11 years old and 12 to 18 years old.  Activities included a variety of drills and contests followed by afternoon scrimmages.  Antonio Davis, current college basketball head coach and Gates County native, was the Featured Instructor of the camp.  His wisdom, expertise and legendary status as a high school and college basketball standout inspired the participants.  Coach Davis was assisted by Central Middle School head coach Marcus Barber, whose dedication and enthusiasm were essential to the success of the camp.  “It has been an honor and privilege to serve the young people of Gates County in a collaborative effort alongside Gates County Community Partnership.  It was a fabulous week,” said Coach Davis.  “Anytime I can get involved in efforts to serve, especially in my hometown, I will be the first in line!  I would like to thank Gates County Community Partnership for its continued commitment to engaging and inspiring our young people. They should be embraced and commended.”

The camp had over 80 participants and the Gates County community stepped up as volunteers to assist with the logistical demands.  “I was pleasantly surprised at the number of recent high school graduates who toiled with us in the heat throughout the camp,” stated Gates County Community Partnership Director Brian Rountree.  “Their fervor was indispensable.  Young people are just better equipped to do some things and I have no problem admitting it.”  Older adults also volunteered, working as administrators, cooks and servers, while completing numerous other tasks.  “Community involvement is very important.  It is imperative to work with our youth to help build their future for a successful life,” stated camp volunteer Shalland Beamon, who works as the Genesis Assistant for Gates County 4-H.  In addition, the Blaque Buttaflyz, Gates County Hurricanes and Gates County High School Cheerleaders represented as group volunteers.

The Gates County Community Center proved to be the ideal venue for the event by providing the necessary infrastructure and staffing to ensure that all campers and instructors were able to focus.  The industrial kitchen simplified meal preparation as the camp provided hot lunches and snacks to all participants and volunteers.  “The youth that learn the value of hard work, commitment, teamwork and sacrifice are the ones that make their team great.  The prominence of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.  When the community believes in the youth, everything is possible,” emphasized Renee Nicholson, Recreation Director of the Gates County Community Center.

Gates County Community Partnership and the Gates County Community Center genuinely appreciate the tremendous support of the community and are looking forward to future events.  “Collaboration is a key to success.  Therefore, we would be remiss if we did not mention the free basketball training that is currently taking place at the community center.  It is for kids ages 7 to 14 on every Thursday from 3 pm – 6 pm and every Saturday from 9 am – 12 pm,” stated Gates County Community Partnership Director Michael Gatling.  “Support of this effort is essential because it is about being the best you can be, as excellence requires hard work and dedication.”  For more information on this training, please contact Renee Nicholson at the Gates County Community Center.

“I am thrilled that we were able to work with Gates County on the “Elite Skills 4 Day Basketball Camp.”  It is important to keep our youth engaged and active during the summer break.  As our mission implies, we labor to inspire others to become even more involved working for our youth,” said Gates County Community Partnership Director Sherley Jones, Jr.

Gates County Community Partnership is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity whose mission is to inspire and increase community engagement by the citizens of Gates County for the educational and social development of its youth.  Donations are welcome at and P.O. Box 64, Sunbury, NC  27979.   For more information, contact [email protected].