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We Are Not Here For Camp, We Are Here For Experiences

For whatever reason, throughout the course of my life, my closest friends have always been several years older than me. As I have gotten older, so have my friends. As I have aged, I am much more eager and aggressive in seeking out wisdom/guidance from these people. I learned something from a friend a few weeks ago, and have seen it come to life since then, and decided to share it, because it has given me great perspective on several things.

I met Jerry Acuff almost four years ago, and he was our first (and only) guest blogger on the site thus far. Our communication takes place at random times, as it does with most of my friends, because my schedule is always changing. He asked what I had coming up the next week, and I said: “We have our first camp for little kids next week.” His response with zero hint of disrespect , nor hesitation was,: “You are charging too much for camp, and preventing too many kids from the opportunity to dream.” It caught me completely off guard, partly because I wasn’t exactly sure how much we were charging for camp, but also because I am all for dreaming, and hope that as a teacher I am a conduit to help inspire dreams.

As we began to flesh out what he was saying, I better understood, and admired what he was saying. He taught me in a very real way that dreams come from experiences, and so our responsibility to our children, and those we are responsible for, is to provide as many experiences as possible. Those experiences are the foundation for our dreams. The lesson didn’t only resonate with me for basketball camp, but more importantly as a dad, as a leader of an organization, and as an adult who is constantly around children (some who want to act like their adults too, but are really just BIG children). It made me think of what experiences was I able to help be a part of or create for my kids, for my staff, for our players? Even if the experience wasn’t completely new, was it unique enough, that it refined their dream even more? That from the experience, and what they learned from it, were able to better understand their dreams in a more real and personal way? It gave me a new perspective in a myriad of ways, to the point that I am still looking at it all from various angles to make sure that I have absorbed it all in the right way.

Towards the end of our conversation, on his own volition, Mr. Acuff told me he would sponsor several campers, but wanted us to go about the selection of those kids in a fair and objective way, and he ask that I would recruit others to do join him in doing this, including myself, and that is exactly what we have done. It has given me a new lens on camp every morning when I have showed up, but before camp ever started, I taught this same lesson to our players and the camp coaching staff: “We are not here for camp guys, we are here for experiences, and from these experiences, dreams will be formed!”

My wife is tired of hearing me say it, and it has become a constant reminder to me internally, not only professionally, but more so personally. It also was a great reminder for me, it is always good to have “old” friends!

Head Coach Virginia Tech Men's Basketball

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Buzz’s Bunch is a non-profit organization that Coach Buzz Williams created as a way to bring together children with disabilities and allow them to fall in love with the game of basketball. 
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