VANDALIA – Butler girls basketball coach Molly Bardonaro wasn’t sure what to expect as she prepared to host the program’s first basketball camp in several years.
Having to place a second t-shirt order was a pleasant surprise.
“I was thrilled,” said Bardonaro, who hosted 61 girls players ranging from grades 3-7. “I was very pleased with the turnout. I didn’t know what to expect, but the registrations just kept coming in.”
Bardonaro, members of her coaching staff, and several Lady Aviator basketball players taught the players fundamental skills, drills, and held daily competitions. While serious basketball lessons were taught, there was a lot of laughter and fun as well.
“We wanted to keep it light and keep it fun because we want them to come back,” said Bardonaro. “As a young player I always remember how fun camps were, and we wanted that here. I think my high school kids did a great job creating relationships with the kids.”
Bardonaro said her ultimate goal was to be able to form a freshman team at Butler – something that hasn’t happened the last few years due to low numbers of players.
“We need numbers to do that, and it starts here and in the Future Lady Aviators,” he said. Bardonaro said that there are promising signs, especially in the fifth and sixth grades.
“Building a program has to start with these girls at a young age,” Bardonaro continued. “It can’t just start at middle school. The more kids we get out, the more likely it is that a girl will discover a love for the sport she didn’t even know she had.”
Bardonaro closed the camp by urging the players to participate in the Vandalia-Butler Girls Basketball Shot Squadron. The goal of the program is to encourage players to get up shots all throughout the summer.
The program has three levels of participation depending on the number of shots a player takes between June 15 and August 15. Those levels are: Pilot (2,000 shots), Captain (4,000), and Aviator Ace (6,000).
The informational flyer (which is available by clicking the PDF symbol below) says that “PLAYERS are made in the offseason; TEAMS are made during the season.”
“Kids have to shoot,” said Bardonaro. “They can’t just show up in October and be a great shooter. Plus, this will hopefully get the parents and girls working on their shots together.”
Those who complete the program will be recognized for their efforts.