About two dozen Stoughton youth, ranging in age from third grade to eighth grade, recently took part in a three-day basketball camp sponsored by the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office in partnership with the Stoughton Recreation Department.
The cost of the camp was only $10, essentially the cost of the t-shirt given to the children. The funding for the camp came from a unique source - forfeiture police confiscate from drug dealers, including cash, cars and sometimes even homes.
The forfeiture helps to fund this camp as well as other drug preventative programs in the county.
"The bad people in Norfolk County paid for the fun," Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey told the attendees of the camp.
The skills-oriented camp, held July 10-12 at the , drew special guest speakers Morrissey, Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany and Stoughton High teacher and boys' head basketball coach John Gallivan.
All three guest speakers spoke about the importance of working hard and making good decisions on and off the court.
"Like anything else in life [if you] try hard, if you work real hard, I'm sure you'll be a great player. But, most importantly, [you'll] be a good citizen," Shastany said.
Gallivan spoke about the importance of "being the best player you can be" and how that requires improving your game each offseason. He spoke about the reality of their being hundreds of kids in each grade at Stoughton High, yet only a limit number of roster spots on the boys' and girls' varsity basketball teams.
He emphasized that hard work and going at "game speed," even in practice, can help a player not only make the cut, but earn playing time.
Gallivan, a social studies teacher, stressed the importance of doing well in the classroom as well, noting that you can only play if you do your schoolwork.
"The lessons you learn on the basketball court carry through life," Morrissey said when he spoke with the children.
"Nobody's perfect," he stressed. "Small mistakes we can deal with, but big mistakes have big consequences."
Shastany spoke on July 10, followed by Gallivan on the 11th and Morrissey on the 12th.
Stoughton resident Paul Wilder, who also works in the DA's office, helped organize the camp, with assistance from some of the staff at the DA's office and interns at the DA's office, including Anthony Musto, John Gallagher, Ben Greene, Sara McGowan, and Kerry and Shannon Cunningham.
Stoughton resident Carl Boen, a former basketball coach at Southeastern Regional, helped to run a number of drills over the three-day camp, instructing the participants on the importance of having proper form using the acronym BEEF, "Balance, Eyes up, Elbow in, Follow through."
Wilder's son, Joey, who will be going into his junior year at SHS and has been on the since his freshman year, also volunteered his time to help out with the camp.
Gallivan helped run some drills he uses with this high school varsity team (which are the same drills he uses when coaching his son's middle school travel basketball team).
The DA, despite joking about his lack of height, showed off his basketball skills as well, participating in a game of knockout.
"The Police Chief [Shastany] should play basketball...I only come up to his waist," Morrissey joked.
Morrissey advanced to the finals of the knockout game, with Joey Wilder edging the DA.
"I'm happy [Morrissey] didn't get knocked out by a third grader this year," Paul Wilder joked.
He thought the camp was a success.
"This is a great group [of kids]," Wilder said.
Christine Iacobucci contributed reporting.