In Richfield, Blessed Trinity basketball camp teaches fundamentals, upgrades facilities
The latest installment of a fundraising effort at Blessed Trinity Catholic School concluded last week, completing the seventh year of an effort to remake a Richfield gathering place.
Led by Jesse Foley, former European professional basketball player and current admissions director at the Academy of Holy Angels, Blessed Trinity’s summer basketball camps have raised $20,000 in seven years, all funds put toward upgrading the gyms at Blessed Trinity’s two campuses.
And the Catholic school has done it without charging a dime. Instead, children are accepted into the camps on a donation basis, and have been forming long lines in recent summers. The camp started with 15 attendees, and now reaches capacity each year, with 70 kids ages 6-13 participating this summer.
They learn their pick-and-rolls and lay-ups from a coach with a lengthy list of credentials. Foley played college basketball at Augsburg College, and played and coached professionally in Denmark before landing at Holy Angels, where he coached basketball for six years.
He no longer coaches at the high school, but says his camp is a product of his passion for the game, and has noticed at least one common thread between coaching the sport at each end of the skill spectrum. No matter what, Foley said, “you have to show that you’re having fun and you enjoy it.”
While he gets his basketball fix through the camps, Foley is quick to show his pride in what the camps have brought to Blessed Trinity, a feeder school for Holy Angels. He thought the gyms at the school’s north and south campuses could use some more school spirit, so the first round of funds went toward new wall padding — yellow and green, as the school colors go.
Next came four new backboards and hoops at each campus, all installed with help of parishioners during sessions that “have really become a community event,” Foley said.
The Blessed Trinity gyms are places for other church events as well, so the upgrades made possible by the basketball camp proceeds have served as a kind of morale boost, by Foley’s assessment.
“Families get fired up when they see things happen,” the coach said.