Basketball has become a much-welcomed sport in West Nipissing after 2 years of non-activity for many local youth. The enthusiasm of players, coaches, volunteers and directors is very apparent to all who’ve seen the flurry of activity around Franco-Cité, Northern Secondary and White Woods Public School this summer.
“It took a couple of years to build to where we are now. Coming out of the pandemic, families were clearly eager to have children active again,” says Kiley Moulton, White Woods teacher, coach, and owner/operator of West Nipissing Basketball Camp. Moulton started the basketball camp to fill a need, “Many students in our school and community didn’t play hockey or volleyball. This gave an alternative choice to families. Basketball is very popular in the area and both high schools continue to produce competitive teams.”
Seventy-four athletes aged 7-15 received instruction from college and university coaches, and athletes and club coaches from North Bay. “Programs like the camp, West Nipissing Jam and school programs are more essential than ever after the last 2 years. There are so many dedicated coaches and community members,” Moulton comments. “We are fortunate to have so many dedicated families who are determined to keep their children active, and local programs that support that demand.”
Tina Bouffard agrees. She coaches Patriotes basketball and runs the community-based West Nipissing Jam Basketball Program at Franco-Cité, which also invites all genders from all schools to participate, get active, and regain social circles after the pandemic. “We were really growing before Covid,” Bouffard states, “and we had a great turnout at our spring session this year with the 3-on-3 teams. Both age categories were full, grades 3-5 had four teams, and grades 6-8 had 3 teams. The interest is still there.” In September, Franco-Cité will be starting with the girls’ session first, and Bouffard is looking at creating different camps throughout the year; “training sessions, club teams, and a little bit of everything!”