5 Questions With: Chuck Ryan, basketball camp director | TheUnion.com

5 Questions With: Chuck Ryan, basketball camp director

Editor’s note: For the past nine years, Chuck Ryan has directed the St. Patrick’s Basketball Camp sponsored by the Knights of Columbus in Grass Valley. With the help of former basketball coaches and players from the western Nevada County community, Ryan has been able to offer a low-cost camp where young kids can learn the fundamentals of the game.

How did this basketball camp program get started?

It got started when I was coaching my granddaughter at Mount St. Mary’s, and I made myself available for a camp to any of the kids wanting to work on their games. And because of that, it eventually became a Knights of Columbus event.

What is the purpose of providing this camp to kids?

We absolutely want to make it available to kids who can’t afford to go to the big camps. We wouldn’t turn anyone away because of money. We also want to teach fundamentals. Then (the campers) can take what we’ve given them and go home and work on it.

How many people are involved in operating the camp?

Probably between six to eight people. In terms of coaches, we have Tim Kays, who’s an old Nevada Union varsity coach. We also have Jim Gulsbig, who really has a lot of experience. He played at the Air Force Academy and was an assistant there for a year. And then we have our high school players, including Emily Ryan, my granddaughter, and Maria Viola, a varsity player at Nevada Union.

What has it been like to work with your granddaughter as a camp coach?

I’ve loved it. She likes it, too. It’s a good experience for her. She was a camper nine years ago. She was one of the first ones in that first group we had.

How long do you plan to keep operating this camp?

All the coaches are fired up and are already talking about next year. We’ll keep going as long as we can. We’ve had as many as 80 kids at this camp, where we’ve had to ship some of the kids out to the schoolyard. This year the numbers were down a bit, but it was a good-sized group. Sometimes, when there are too many, it can be hard to teach them.

– Brian Hamilton, sports editor

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