Coordinators say camp’s first run in Mitchell a successThe final campers from the 2010 Hansen-Anderson Girls’ Camp of Stars filed out of the gym for the last time Thursday night, and one of the camp’s directors was able to take a deep breath for the first time since the camp’s first session opened nearly three weeks ago. But Erik Skoglund wasn’t complaining one bit.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
The final campers from the 2010 Hansen-Anderson Girls’ Camp of Stars filed out of the gym for the last time Thursday night, and one of the camp’s directors was able to take a deep breath for the first time since the camp’s first session opened nearly three weeks ago.
But Erik Skoglund wasn’t complaining one bit.
“What a great camp for South Dakota’s finest to practice, compete and make 60 new friends,” Skoglund said following Thursday’s all-star game at the Girls’ Camp of Stars. “That’s what we want Hansen-Anderson to be all about; and that’s what we want all these campers to go home and tell their friends.”
The Girls’ Camp of Stars was the last of three Hansen-Anderson basketball camps held on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan University in the past three weeks. The Hansen-Anderson Basketball School, which focuses on fundamentals for girls and boys in grades 5-10, ran from June 14-17, and the Boys’ Camp of Stars ran from June 21-24.
“We came into this camp wanting to see tired kids telling us how much they learned at camp, and that’s what we got for these three weeks,” Skoglund said. “We feel great about our product at the Hansen-Anderson camp for this year and beyond.”
The past few weeks marked the first time the famed basketball camp has been held in Mitchell. The camp finished its 32nd year Thursday.
Sturgis boys’ coach Orion Thompson did much of the coordinating for the first time this year and said he was pleased with the partnership of DWU and Hansen-Anderson.
“We worked really hard since last year to make sure that we took care of everything we possibly could before we got here,” Thompson said. “It’s been a really, really seamless transition for us. (DWU Athletic Director) Curt Hart has been so instrumental in making it successful and he’s done a great job of making our staff’s job so much easier.
“And the numbers this year were great; they were right where we wanted them for our first year in Mitchell.”
About 280 kids took part in the three weeks of camping activities. The Girls’ Camp of Stars had about 65 campers, the Boys’ Camp of Stars brought in 60 and the Basketball School attracted 150 players.
“That first camp just blew my mind. I got very nervous that we weren’t going to be able to take care of the kids the way they needed to be,” Thompson said. “I can’t say enough about the staff that we had. It’s just so much fun to work with guys that just want to be here. They aren’t being forced to be here, they aren’t doing it to get paid. They just enjoy being here, and that shows.”
The Hansen-Anderson camp has two years remaining on its contract with Dakota Wesleyan University and plans to bring even more players to town in the next two summers. The camp also serves as a nice tool for college coaches to get a look at some of the top prep talent in the state.
“It’s sure been nice for our university to have all those kids on our campus,” said Hart, who was on hand to watch the girls’ all-star game Thursday. “Their numbers have been up this year, too. That’s another positive for that camp, and the community.”
Skoglund, who coaches boys’ basketball in Spearfish, cited the DWU campus as a perfect spot for a high school basketball camp because of the proximity of the dormitories, eating facilities and gymnasium. During Thursday’s award presentations, Thompson referenced Skoglund as “one of the best up-and-coming basketball camp coordinators in the state.”
Skoglund credited the rest of the Hansen-Anderson staff as well, saying it wasn’t just the players learning over the past three weeks.
“All these coaches shared ideas for three weeks and we learned from each other,” he said. “The basketball coaches in South Dakota, along with Mr. Curt Hart and DWU, are a fraternity.”
In its prime years in Huron, the Hansen-Anderson would annually welcome about 300 kids to its sessions. And with the success of the 2010 edition, Thompson said he thinks the combination of DWU and Mitchell could serve as a long-term home for the camp in the coming years.
“I don’t see us looking for another place if it continually works like this,” Thompson said. “We’ve had the success with the food service, the school and the athletic administration. It’s one of those things that just seems like a dream and you’re just trying to figure out if it’s real.
“It’s been really, really good and it’s so nice to be involved with an entity that wants to run in the same direction as us.”