Youth basketball and great coaching create a great experience for the Johnsons

Like most families, Cheryl Johnson started her kids off at the YMCA in Summer Day Camp for something to do for the summer, but it quickly grew into more!

The Next Step

Learning how to swim was the next step for the Johnsons. Cheryl chose private swim lessons for her children, Jaide, 5, and Nile, 6 at the time. “Private lessons allow children to learn at their own pace and it was a better use of our time.” As a child with special needs, Jaide needed a bit of extra attention and the one on one training really benefitted his situation.

JAIDE LOVES BASKETBALL

During the summers at the YMCA, Jaide found the youth basketball program. Jaide loves basketball, but the YMCA had the structure and push that he needed.

“Miss Amber makes the difference. She cares for the kids and has a passion for helping them. I couldn’t imagine anyone else leading the program,” commented Cheryl.

Amber Miller, associate director of sports & teens for the Benjamin Harrison YMCA, has been with the Y for seven years, four of those with Benjamin Harrison Y overseeing the sports programming. She knows the name of nearly every child that enters the Y along with the sports and positions that they have played. Her caring for the youth in our community shows in her work.

STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Amber recalls when Jaide first came into the basketball clinic in the summer of 2015.

“I remember that Jaide did not care for the sound of my whistle and he made sure that I knew it. He was reserved and needed a bit more direction than some of the other children, but the Johnsons were very up front with the extra care that their child needed. That was very helpful.”

Daryle, Jaide’s father, even stepped in to volunteer coach the team while Amber focused a bit more of her time with Jaide. By the end of the clinic, Jaide participated more and started to follow along with the other kids.

COACHES MAKE THE BIGGEST IMPACT

Since then, Jaide has had the pleasure of working with Coach Baye Wilson, an 8-year volunteer coach at the Benjamin Harrison YMCA. Coach Wilson has a motto: “Do your best. Work hard. Have fun.” With his drill sergeant approach, Coach Wilson takes his time to let the kids understand the right way, learn the right way, repeat the right way, and celebrates their improvement. He is all about kids doing their personal best, because every child is different. This worked for Jaide. He enjoyed the structure and care that Coach Wilson gave him. Jaide was held to the same standards as all other kids and the Johnsons appreciated him for it. Jaide is not limited and needs the same motivation & given the same goals as everyone else. He got that through Coach Wilson and Miss Amber. The YMCA has been a great environment for him.

Jaide is in his third year in YMCA youth basketball and not only can he handle the whistle, but he is one of the most involved players on the court. He has made friends and is willing to try other sports, such as Track & Field. Being on a team and working together has been a great benefit from the youth sports programs. Miss Amber is looking forward to having Jaide in her future programs to watch him learn and grow.

If you would like to have an impact on our YMCA’s young lives by volunteering as a youth sports coach, please contact Amber at amiller@indymca.org.

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The smile on Jaide's face says it all!

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