Sir Winston Churchill Basketball Camp fosters personal and educational growth
At a basketball camp held in Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School’s gymnasium, there’s something that catches your eye. It is not only the 6’9”, motivational and educational basketball mentor. It’s the young, focused students with determination in their eyes as they practice proper form and the pride they exude when they successfully complete an exercise.
The Sir Winston Churchill, Leadership Through Sport program aims to provide an environment that fosters positive development of student well-being. The program leaders held a free basketball camp for SWC feeder schools on Jan. 2-3. The camp was led by basketball educator and mentor, Mihai Raducanu.
After moving to Canada at age 15 from Romania, Raducanu knows from personal experience that building confidence through sport is key to personal wellness.
He describes basketball as a vehicle he used for learning the English language, gaining friends and developing leadership opportunities while he was in high-school. After earning an NCAA basketball scholarship to Coastal Carolina University and being a part of the Canadian Jr. National Team, he was a police officer until the age of 32, when he decided to take on coaching full-time.
He has always enjoyed training others in basketball and he wanted to take this passion and make an impact on people’s lives by providing them with a holistic development through sport.
This means that while it may seem that he is simply teaching students basketball formation, he is also educating them on self-improvement and how their nutrition and lifestyles can contribute to them reaching their full potential.
Students at the basketball camp were taught to get out of their comfort zone and were shown that they are supported by a caring mentor. Raducanu believes that by creating a trusting environment through sport, students will be more aware that there is a caring adult who they can go to with any struggles they may be facing. This safe, but challenging environment will also encourage students to continue growing and improving, not only in sport, but in different aspects of their lives, which breeds confidence.
All HWDSB schools have sports teams and clubs to get involved in. By joining these, students gain confidence built through teamwork, which can help them to step up for themselves and others to prevent bullying and continue building positive and supportive school communities.
After gathering into a huddle, the students at the camp are asked to speak about what they have learned. Each of them are challenged to question how they have been empowered through the camp to learn and grow. Some of the students are nervous and hesitate, but each student eventually breaks out of their comfort zone to speak up.
By the time the huddle breaks, it’s no longer just the determination and focus of the students that catches your eye in the gym. It’s also that everyone is standing up a little straighter and holding their heads a bit higher. Confidence runs through each of the students who participated and they now know that if they are able to experience growth in that gym, they can also experience growth in all aspects of their lives.
A second, free, two-day basketball camp will be held over March Break, for SWC feeder-school students, so stay tuned!