I want to tell you about Kandace. She is one of the two great gifts that God gave to my wife and me along with her brother, Malachi. She is 12 years old. She is a beautiful young lady who is kind of shy but does so awesome when she comes out of her shell. She loves singing, art, and basketball. She has sung since she was a little girl in church and at gospel music concert events. It is funny how she is kind of shy, but can get up in front of a bunch of people and sing. She makes great grades. We thank God for her. She is a really good kid and I am not just saying that because I am her father. Now let me get to the story about her wanting to go to some basketball camps. I will start will telling you how she got started in basketball and how she began to enjoy it so much.
Not quite two years ago, Kandace was in 5th grade. She had talked about wanting to try out for basketball, but had never played much. Since she is shy and is sometimes overly concerned about embarrassing herself. She didn't want to tryout, even though she wanted to. I hope that makes sense. I encouraged her to try out and not worry about what others would think. I didn't want her to go through life worrying about what other people think. I want her to be more concerned about what she would like to do and only being concerned about what God feels about all her endeavors. Us being a Christian family we want to make sure that he is present in the choices we make. Anyway, I couldn't talk her into doing it at first. So, she didn't try out. Not because she didn't want to play, but because she thought she wouldn't make the team and was afraid she would be terrible. She told me that she wanted to practice more and then maybe try out in 6th grade. So I didn't make her try out. Then for Christmas she started asking for a basketball goal. I could tell she wanted to play really bad and that her having a goal would help her practice. So I bought her a goal for Christmas. She loved it. She started playing with it quite a bit. I worked with her some, but I am not a coach. By the time spring rolled around I signed her up for PAAL basketball. She played on a team with girls about her age. She loved it. It was her first time playing any kind of team basketball. You could tell it was her first time ever playing any kind of organized basketball. However, she improved quite a bit over the course of the league play which I think was about 7 weeks.
Now fast forward to this past fall and Kandace being in the 6th grade. When it came time for basketball tryouts, I knew she wanted to play. However, she was very hesitant. Even though she wanted to play, she told me that she wasn't going to go tryout because she was afraid she would mess up and was worried what her friends might think of her if she messed up. Remember she is shy and still needed an esteem boost when it came to basketball. This time I made her go. I knew deep down that she wanted to play. You know how it is if you are a parent. We know our kids. I told her that mistakes are part of learning and definitely a part of basketball. Yes, she had played a year less than some of the others that would be on the team, but I felt she could make it. I also told her that she was not going to let what others think of her keep her from doing something great that she wanted to do. So she went. After the first tryout night she came home and told me she felt that she did awful, but that she wanted to go back the next night (tryouts were 3 nights). After the second night she came home very excited. She told me that she really loved it. Then she said, "Dad, thank you for making me go." I mean she really enjoyed it and wanted to play even more. I told her that I knew she wanted to play and to not ever let anybody keep her from doing great things or from doing what is right. After the 3rd night, she came home and had made the team. She was very excited. She worked hard during practice the whole season and improved a lot. However, her shyness and timidness kept her from shooting and such as much as she could have. However, she improved as the season went on and lost some of the shyness and timidness. After the season was over, she told me she wanted to keep playing. She told me that she wanted to get better and play in middle school for the school team. She even went on to tell me that she wants to play in high school and would maybe even like to play basketball in college. So she has a long term goal of playing in college and getting a good education. However, her short goal is to make the middle school team this coming fall. She knows that there will be more girls trying out in middle school for a small amount of spots. There will be more girls trying out in middle school because there are 11 elementary schools in the local school corporation and only 2 middle schools that all those elementary students will be moving to. So Kandace knows that she needs to improve many of her basketball skills to continue playing. So we started talking about sending her to camps this summer. She really loves playing and wants to improve. She went to a couple of spring scrimmages and seems to have lost more of her timidness, which is good. However, she will need much improvement in order to gain a spot with some of the girls that you can tell have been playing longer than her. Thus she wants to go to camp.
We would love to send her to about 3 or 4 mini basketball camps. However, we would be grateful if we can at least send her to one. One camp works on shooting. Two of the other camps work on fundamentals. While the 4th camp is a big camp that really teaches many aspects to those participating. Two of the camps are put on by the basketball coaches over at Indiana University. The price we are trying to raise would take care of the three smaller camps and would also pay for transportation over to Bloomington for the two camps and to Greensburg for the other. I will be honest. At this point in our lives we can't afford to send her to the camps as we basically live paycheck to paycheck. As I am sure many others do. However, if you are someone that would have any extra and would love to help Kandace go to at least one camp, it would be much appreciated. Our prayer is that God would use you to bless Kandace in this way. The $900 is for 3 of the camps. It would be extraordinary to raise even more and get to send her to the 4th camp. However, we would even be happy if we raised enough to even send her to one. The cheapest camp is a short one that that would cost about $155.
Any help would be greatly appreciated and the sooner it could be donated, the sooner we can know which camps she can go to.. Thanks in advance from a very appreciative father. I wouldn't usually ask for money like this, but as a father I really want to do this for Kandace and I feel she deserves it for all her hard work at school and for her good decisions. Like I said she is a good Kid. I wish I had enough money to send her myself, but I don't. I am praying that God will make a way if it is his will and I am praying that he will use you. Thanks so much. I will be updating frequently.
Kandace just got done trying out for the basketball team for her middle school and found out tonight that she didn't make the team. She is pretty upset, but at the same time she is holding up well. I think she is going to use this to help motivate her to keep on practicing. Unfortunately, with every thing going on, I just didn't have the money to send her to the camps that would have helped her improve her skills and help her reach the level she wanted and need to reach to make the team. I feel guilty because I did not have the money to send her. If I could have sent her maybe she could have made team with some improvement. I did get to send her to one small mini camp, but it was like some of the bigger ones that would really help her improve. So I have pretty much decided to keep this fundraiser going so that maybe I can send her to some camps between now and next school year because she told me she still wants to play. She want to use this time to keep improving and try out again next year. I might even try to find her some one on one coaching. I feel for her and wish I could have did more, but providing needs like clothes, food, and a roof over our heads had to come first. If any of you want to help in anyway, it will be appreciated. I will continue to do updates on things we are doing to help her improve since that is what she desires to do.