Former college player combines basketball with life lessons

Published 4:58 pm Friday, June 17, 2016

Greg Manning and the Hardee’s mascot pump up the crowd.

Greg Manning and the Hardee’s mascot pump up the crowd.

Greg Manning, a former standout basketball player at the University of Maryland, and his wife Lea Henry, the current women’s basketball coach at Darton State College, brought their L and G Camp of Champs to Bainbridge as part of the 21st Century camp at Bainbridge Middle School.

They were in Bainbridge this past week working with elementary-age campers and will work with middle school students next week.

“We go all over the country and teach character education to after-school programs and summer programs in a recreational basketball setting,” Henry said. “The main thing is we want the kids to have a good time.”

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Over 160 kids watched as Manning made three colorful handkerchiefs disappear and then reappear using his magicians bag Wednesday morning. His talk centered on the importance of going to school and the three handkerchiefs represented his three critical reasons for going everyday- learning, spending time with friends and being around supportive adults.

When the handkerchiefs were in the bag it represented a kid’s “bag being full” meaning he or she attended school that day. When they disappeared the kid’s bag was empty because he or she had missed school. The overall message was that kids should work to make sure their bag is always full.

“What we’re trying to do is motivate the kids to do well in school and understand the key character elements as far as respecting authority, overcoming obstacles, believing in themselves. Things like that,” Henry said.

The camp of champions is one of the many activities going on as part of the 21st Century camp this summer. Dave Holland of Beatin’ Path Rhythms was working with separate groups of students to teach them rhythm and how to find it in everyday life.

“We provide hands on enrichment activities for students,” Estella Bryant, the 21st Century program director, said. “We try to provide enriching activities for the students each summer where we emphasize reading, math and science.

Hardees sponsored the camp and the kids received a surprise visit from the Hardees’ star on Wednesday. The mascot posed for a picture and gave out coupons for free french-fries.

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