A Diamond In The Rough

It’s All-Star weekend 2011 and Los Angeles is buzzing.  At NBA Jam Session, agents, photographers, managers, entourages, and eager fans crowd every inch of open space, anxious to get a glimpse of the action.  At 6 feet 5 inches tall, Felipe Lopez is definitely not the tallest, the biggest, or even the most athletic person in attendance.  However, as his peers will quickly tell you, there is little doubt that he has one of the biggest hearts.  Once touted the best high school basketball player in the country, the Dominican Republic native and former NBA star has taken the spirit of “giving back” to a whole new level.  Selfless in every meaning of the word, Lopez has transitioned roles from player to mentor, teaching more than one hundred school aged children the game of basketball, without charging them a dime.  “Felipe is a flame,” explains HSBCAMPS Founder Carson Sofro; “A flame that will hopefully one day spread like wildfire throughout the entire NBA community.  He is a diamond in the rough.”

Felipe’s passion for others stems from his love for his son and desire to create opportunities that were absent during his own childhood.  Though for many, All-Star weekend is about parties and glamour, for Lopez, it’s all business.  Running from appearances and interviews, to clinics and events, the highlight of Felipe’s weekend is not the lights of Hollywood, but rather the faces of the hundreds of young people he gets to interact with.  He is utilizing the weekend lineup of events (with the help of some of his NBA friends), to raise money for his Foundation in New York, and work with HSBCAMPS Director Carson Sofro to further the nationally growing basketball initiatives reach, amongst the NBA’s elite. “The weekend has been great.  Between the NBA events, the Foundations progress, and reconnecting with HSB, it has all been very successful,” explains Lopez.  “I’m looking forward to getting home to the kids in New York and another amazing summer ahead on the road with my friends at HSBCAMPS.”

Sofro and Lopez first connected in 2010, at an HSBCAMPS summer session in Bend, Oregon and their friendship has grown ever since. “There were so many synergies between what Felipe is doing in New York, and what we are trying to do all over the country, that we quickly embraced each others strengths and formed a partnership,” shared Sofro.  “We are blessed to have been able to unite and share our visions both locally and nationally, but recognize there is still so much left to be done.”  Lopez will return to a reloaded HSBCAMPS staff in 2011, eager to continue the work that he started in 2010.  “It is great to get outside of the big cities and into the real heart of America,” explains Lopez.  “There are kids everywhere that need help and I am so glad for the success of my own foundation and the opportunity I have been given with HSBCAMPS.”

For more information on HSBCAMPS, Felipe Lopez, and the work they’re doing, visit http://www.hsbcamps.com.

NBA All – Star Weekend Shout Out

HSBCAMPS Coach Felipe Lopez, giving a shout out to all the campers at HSB live from his charity event in Beverly Hills 2/18/11. Various items including autographed basketballs, shoes, and jerseys were auctioned to raise money for Felipe’s Foundation in NYC.  NBA legends, celebrities, and various business people filled the Havana Club on Friday night to support this wonderful cause.

HSBCAMPS Team Heads to Medford August 2011

Oregon Community Becomes Newest Location on Youth Basketball Camps Nationally Expanding List

HSBCAMPS, America’s leader in bringing kids of all ages face-to-face with the pros, has announced its ninth and newest location on their 2011 tour. HSBCAMPS has partnered with the Medford School District to host one of its world-class youth basketball camps geared towards “giving back”. HSBCAMPS will donate a portion of the camp proceeds to various entities within the local community and make scholarships available for underprivileged kids wishing to attend the Day Camp and Morning Clinic at the Medford Educational Center (Old South Medford High School), slated for August 8-10, 2011.

The HSBCAMPS Morning Clinic and Day Camp are geared towards teaching and developing the fundamentals of basketball for boys and girls in elementary, middle and high school grades. The Morning Clinic is open to youth in grades one through three. The Day Camp is open to youth in grades four through 12. From team competitions to individual contests, players will participate in fun, instructional work under the direction of the HSBCAMPS staff, comprised of collegiate and professional coaches and players from all over the country.

“We looked at a bunch of new locations in Oregon and of all them, Medford just felt right,” explains Carson Sofro, HSBCAMPS Founder. “The school district and local coaches really liked our model and felt that we could impact a lot of kids within the local community. It was a winning scenario that we quickly embraced.” HSBCAMPS prides itself as a youth basketball program that “gives back”, donating a portion of every programs proceeds to schools and non-profits within each of the communities they serve. With more than $50,000 raised to date, HSBCAMPS stands firm in its commitment to provide every child, regardless of age or income, with an opportunity to attend.

In addition to Medford, the nationally expanding youth basketball camp will also be serving up high scoring experiences in Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Hailey, Idaho; Twin Falls, Idaho; Bend, Ore.; Bellevue, Washington; and Park City, Utah. To register for one of HSBCAMPS youth basketball programs or for more information, visit www.hsbcamps.com.

“Between The Impossible & The Possible”

Although I find myself busier by the day, if there is one area that I try to focus most of my attention, it is on the kids and the lives that have been impacted by our program. HSBCAMPS has taken our staff and myself on an unimaginable journey to cities big and small, all the while connecting us with some amazing young people in pursuit of their own dreams and ambitions. I try as much as possible to stay in close contact with all of our kids via facebook and email, keeping up with how their seasons are going, sharing congratulations when they have a great game, or sometimes sending words of encouragement when things don’t seem to be going their way. As I sit down to write this entry tonight, I am privileged to write about a group of very special young people that I have had the honor to get to know these last few years.

The Wood River Valley, where I spent much of my young life, is not known for its basketball prowess. Though scattered with some very nice facilities, the game of basketball takes a big back seat to all of the various outdoor activities and other sports the valley has to offer. I will forever remember the looks of confusion I got from different people in the community when I told them I was going to start a basketball camp. All that aside, there’s an amazing group of young women, who have quickly put the game and their valley on high alert.

Wood River High School’s girls basketball team, is turning heads. Improving an impressive 17-7 record last year, the 19-2 Wolverine’s, just won the district tournament and captured only the third birth to state in the schools history with the #4 overall seed. The amazing Coach Mendy Benson, has her lady Wolverine’s running on all cylinders eager for Thursday’s opening match up against Mountain Home. On behalf of all of our coaches that have had the opportunity to work with HSBCAMPS participants KT, Cheyenne, Emmalie, Haylee, Hunter, and Favi, as well as the entire HSBCAMPS family, I would like to send these ladies a tremendous congratulations and wish them the best of luck this week. They are not just competing for a state title, but for all who have overcome adversity and worked hard to achieve greatness. We know that you will do us proud.

Ladies, your hard work and determination has lifted all of us and inspired further generations with the hope that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

Remember, if you have your own news or information you think we should share with the HSBCAMPS community, please feel free to let me know. In the words of famous baseball manager Tommy Lasorda; “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s (or woman’s) determination.”

**If you get a second please post a note and let these ladies know they have your support. I know they have mine. A special thanks to KT for keeping me posted throughout the tourney.

Ryan Appleby & HSBCAMPS Dribble Back Into Bellevue August 2011

Former University of Washington Star & Other Pros To Teach Kids About The Game & Life

HSBCAMPS, America’s leader in bringing kids of all ages face-to-face with the pros, and former UW standout Ryan Appleby, have announced their return to the Seattle area for summer 2011.  HSBCAMPS has partnered again with Bellevue Christian School, to host one of its world-class youth basketball camps geared towards “giving back”.  HSBCAMPS will donate a portion of the camp proceeds to various entities within the local community and make scholarships available for underprivileged kids wishing to attend the Day Camp slated for August 1-3, 2011.

The three-day camp will be geared towards teaching and developing the fundamentals of basketball for boys and girls in elementary, middle and high school grades. From team competitions to individual contests, players will participate in fun, instructional work under the direction of the HSBCAMPS staff, comprised of collegiate and professional coaches and players from all over the country.

“Seattle is a great basketball city and one that we feel we can have a big impact in,” explains Carson Sofro, HSBCAMPS Founder.  “We had some great support from the local community in our first summer, and were able to get a lot of kids training one-on-one with some great players and coaches including Seattle’s own Ryan Appleby.  We are really looking forward to our return.”  HSBCAMPS prides itself as a youth basketball program that “gives back”, donating a portion of every programs proceeds to schools and non-profits within each of the communities they serve.  With more than $50,000 raised to date, HSBCAMPS stands firm in its commitment to provide every child, regardless of age or income, with an opportunity to attend.

In addition to the Bellevue, the nationally expanding youth basketball camp will also be serving up high scoring experiences in Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Hailey, Idaho; Twin Falls, Idaho; Bend, Ore.; Medford, Ore.; and Park City, Utah. To register for one of HSBCAMPS youth basketball programs or for more information, visit www.hsbcamps.com.

Reigning NBA Development League MVP Mike Harris Rejoins HSBCAMPS Team

When Mike Harris returns to Houston this offseason, he will have more than another year in the international spotlight to add to his already impressive professional basketball resume.  The Rice University record holder, Houston Rocket reserve, and reigning NBA Development League MVP, is diving head first into the world of philanthropy.  Reconnecting with former Colorado 14ers (NBADL) teammate and HSBCAMPS Founder Carson Sofro, Harris has found his niche giving back to communities and young athletes through the game of basketball.  “Carson and I’ve stayed in touch over the years. When he offered me the opportunity to come out to camp last summer in Boise, I jumped on it,” explains Harris.  “Seeing first hand what HSBCAMPS was all about, and the time and effort they put into developing every player, I knew I wanted a bigger part.”   Following camp in June, Harris returned to Houston determined to bring an HSBCAMPS program to the “Lone Star” state.  After a little collaborating and organization, that determination became a reality.

“When I initially spoke with Mike, getting a camp to Texas was a major priority, as that was and has always been his home,” shared Sofro.  “He felt there were a lack of quality opportunities for kids in the area and it was something we decided to work very hard to fix.”  With the help of Harris, HSBCAMPS recently opened its 2011 summer campaign with two Texas locations.  “Legends Sports Complex” of the Woodlands and “Forney Sports Center”, outside Dallas, will play host to all participants looking to; “come play with the pros.”  The morning and day camps will be an excellent opportunity for kids at the elementary, middle, and high school grades to enhance their skills training one-on-one with HSBCAMPS All-Star staff of professional and collegiate players and coaches from all over the world.  In addition, a portion of the proceeds from both the Houston and Dallas events will be donated back to various entities within each of the respective communities.

“It is very exciting to see this all come together,” Harris added.  “I can’t wait to get back on the court and work with the kids again this June.”  Harris is now part of a growing list of NBA players that will be coaching during the 2011 camp season. Along with Houston and Dallas, the nationally expanding youth basketball camp will also be serving up high scoring experiences in Boise, Idaho; Hailey, Idaho; Twin Falls, Idaho; Bend, Ore.; Medford, Ore.; Park City, Utah; and Bellevue, Wash. For more information or to register visit www.hsbcamps.com.

“You Have To Be Willing To Work For It”

Hey kids #reportinglivefrom Caracas, Venezuela.  Doing things a lil differently this time and thought I’d show off my #video making skills.  Wanted you all to see my new joints custom made for our first game February 25.  In the spirit of HSBCAMPS and “giving back”, I did this to show my support for those suffering from breast cancer all over the world.  I’m only gonna wear them once, as I’ve decided to pass them on to a lucky fan after the game.  I’m tired and feeling a lil under the weather so I’m about to crash but before I do wanted to give a shout out to the Wood River Girls Basketball team on their big win last night and a first ever unanimous #1 seed for the Idaho State tourney.  Until next time, “How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it.” – Jim Valvano

HSBCARES – Building A Brighter Tomorrow

HSBCARES mission is to provide basketball and educational opportunities to all those in need regardless of age, income, or physical ability. We offer scholarship money for young players to attend summer camps, support basketball programs that work with disabled and underprivileged children, and provide public schools and other youth programs with vital basketball tools needed to operate at the highest level.

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