During the past few seasons, the MTSU men’s basketball team has played in the NCAA and NIT tournaments.
However, one of the biggest thrills comes when the Blue Raiders help out in the community. Last Wednesday, the team and the cheerleaders visited the Special Kids organization as part of the Camp Ability summer camp.
The Murfreesboro-based Christian, non-profit organization was started back in 1998 as way to help kids with special needs receive needed therapeutic rehabilitation and professional nursing services. Back when it started 16 years ago, it only had one kid. Since then, the group has helped more than 2,600 kids from 18 counties in the midstate.
Each year, the Special Kids puts together the Camp Ability summer camp for those children with special needs ranging from ages 6 to 25. It is held during two different sessions in June and July at North Boulevard Church of Christ. Since being created in 2006, the Blue Raider basketball team has appeared every single year.
“Betty (Davis) and I have been involved with Special Kids for years, and we have always loved the opportunity to get involved with the program,” MTSU men’s basketball head coach Kermit Davis said. “It is a fantastic chance for our players to get connected to the community, and it is always a very rewarding experience. Our returning players look forward to this every year, and our returners understand that and are thrilled to get the chance to get involved. It is a lot of fun for the players.”
Director of Camp Ability of Special Kids Brandon Deal added: “It is such an honor to have them come out to camp. It is truly a highlight of our summer. It is so exciting for our campers to get to play basketball with the same players they watch from the stands.”
The campers got to experience being an actual MTSU basketball player by going through passing drills, dribbling drills, defensive drills, shooting and they even got the chance to learn how to dunk the basketball. Also, the MTSU cheerleaders taught the campers some of its popular cheers.
“This is one of the events that the kids have looked forward to all summer,” Deal said. “This is not the first time for the Blue Raiders. Davis has brought the entire team out to Camp Ability for all eight years of its existence.”
Davis believes doing community events like this one will help bring the team together, especially the newcomers to the program.
“For the eight newcomers who have never been involved they will learn that it is just as rewarding of an experience for them as it is for the kids,” Davis said.