Children are being given the opportunity to play basketball, and other outdoor activities, with a professional basketball player at Bergman Park this week.

The Jamestown Jackals, owned by Integrity First Inc., is hosting Playtime with the Pros at Bergman Park this week for free for the first 50 children who register to participate. Kayla Crosby, Jackals general manager/owner, said the summer day camp is being made possible because of a Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation Youth Sports and Recreation COVID-19 Fund Grant. She said five Jamestown Jackals players are coaching children about several sports and outdoor activities.

“They’re learning different life skills like how to listen to adults, decision making and encouragement,” she said.

Crosby said Mission Meadows is sponsoring the equipment and sports supplies. She said this week the summer day camp is at Bergman Park while last week they were at Jackson-Taylor Park; next week they will be at Allen Park.

“We chose three different parks in Jamestown so we could reach different kids,” she said. “Last week, we had about 20 kids. This week we have around 43 kids. We can have a maximum of 50.”

Crosby said the coaches each teach the children a different sport, which includes basketball, four square, frisbee and baseball for example.

“This way the kids learn how to play different sports,” she said.

Games and activities will be adapted for developmental levels of participants, allowing for everyone to gain confidence in their abilities as they try new activities and expand their horizons.

Safety precautions will be taken to minimize risks and encouraging a fun time is had by everyone. Crosby said it’s important for children to learn about different outdoor sports and activities, which will motivate them to exercise more often and make positive lifestyle choices.

“So many kids, especially during the COVID-19 era, and even before (the pandemic), just sit inside and play video games all day,” she said. “This way we get them outside and encourage them to be outside. Plus they get coached by a professional basketball player, so that’s awesome.”

Crosby said each child will receive a mask, water bottle and a T-shirt for participating. The summer day camp is being held from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

“We’re so grateful to the players. They have been wonderful mentoring the kids,” she said.

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