by Jimmy Lee King
Looking for a great way to introduce your girl or boy (3-7 years old) to Basketball? Then look at the Bellevue Little Hoopsters.
Melissa Tatum, started the program 6 years ago for her Daughter who at the time was 4 years old. After searching she found only one program at the YMCA with an $80.00 fee, 1 hour a week for 6 weeks. Tatum decided to get her own program started for half the cost and many more hours of time for the players to learn and gain confidence. The program started with 26 children and in one year grew to over a hundred.
Overwhelmingly, Tatum was granted the ability to do the program by the Bellevue school and city. The program is not limited to only Bellevue children. There have been students from Florence and even Ohio. Children as young as 3.5 years old who are potty trained and permitted by parents to be on the court without a parent can participate.
Bellevue Varsity, JV and Middle school basketball players are the actual coaches of the program. The coaches put in over 40 hours a season to the program. Tatum comments that the coaches learn as much as the children do about learning and teaching basketball. Many of the coaches who graduate high school, still come back to teach because they love the program so much. There is also a scholarship program that is given out to a leading senior who maintains a 3.0 grade average. They have to submit and application and write an essay to explain what they learned from teaching in the program.
Tatum says “the program was never meant to make money. One of the neat things we have are sponsors for each of the teams. Each team has 10 to 12 children. Sponsors that have been part of the program since the beginning Tatum noted are Tom Rechtin Heating and Air, Mayor Ed Riehl and Crawford Insurance. For information on sponsoring at team call: Melissa Tatum at 859-261-2980.
In October Tatum will start sending out registrations. People can print them out online from the Little Hoopster page on Facebook or Tatum will email registration to the parents.
Sunday marked the end of the program for 2015. Today all the children get to play in front of all the parents and family. The players get to run out onto the court like the varsity players do. A DJ emcee’s the event as all the players get their name called out as they make a goal.
All you have to do is look at the faces of these children and see who successful this program is.
Check out the video here: http://youtu.be/yO6F2B2jSeE
For more information on the program call: Melissa Tatum 859-261-2980