The next generation of hoopsters in Lindale got a chance to learn from the Pepperell High girls and boys basketball programs as each held its annual youth camps at The Fire Pit.

The boys program hosted the Dragon Flame Youth Basketball Camp from Monday through Wednesday, with each session going from 9-11:30 a.m., while the girls program hosted the Lady Dragons Basketball Camp on Monday and Tuesday afternoon from 4-7 p.m. each day.

Combined, each team’s coaches and players helped more than 90 campers improve their game through instruction, drills, games and encouragement.

“Camp is always one of the highlights of summer basketball,” said Pepperell girls head coach Emily Claytor. “We love getting kids around the community into our gym to learn about this game we love and to have fun together. I’m thankful for a great group of high school players who worked so hard to make it a wonderful camp. It’s a great way for them to give back and to see that they are a part of something bigger than themselves when they wear a Lady Dragons jersey. They are able to help the next generation and also remember how far they’ve come. It’s great to be a Dragon.”

Both camps were open to kids from kindergarten through eighth grade, and each camper received a T-shirt at the end of the festivities. There were awards for various categories and Camper of the Week honors handed out as well, and the boys camp also gave out game passes for admission to one of the high school games next season.

Pepperell boys head coach Zach Mendence echoed Claytor’s thoughts on the importance of the camp not just for the campers but for the high school players that served as instructors.

“The biggest and most important part of camp is that our high school players are interacting and being role models to our youth,” said Mendence. “A lot of times, summer camp is the reason a kid picks up a sport, and it is not always how much fun the sport is, but the bonds and role models they pick up throughout the camp. Nothing is sweeter than our players making a difference in our future Dragons’ lives. Seeing moments where kids are having great joy interacting with current players is what makes the greatest camp memories.”

Pepperell’s camps are just two of the many that have been held by the local high school sports programs, rec department and boys and girls clubs over the past several weeks. For information on other camps scheduled to be held the rest of the summer, visit the various school and sports teams’ Facebook pages and websites.

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