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SSD Students Attend Jayson Tatum Basketball Camp

August 16, 2022 - The Jayson Tatum Foundation provided scholarships toSSD students smile for photo at Jayson Tatum's basketball camp. Special Olympics Missouri, allowing eight SSD students to participate in the Jayson Tatum Basketball ProCamp free of charge over the summer. Tatum is a St. Louis native and NBA basketball player for the Boston Celtics. His camp was held on Aug. 4-5 at Chaminade College Preparatory School. 

“This was a great opportunity for Special Olympics Missouri Unified Champion Schools and SSD because the athletes gained sport-specific skills and all of the camp participants had the opportunity to practice inclusion,” said Unified Champion School Manager Emma Thomas. “I was incredibly proud of the resilience and determination of the Special Olympics Missouri athletes who gave their best effort throughout training and drills.”

During the camp, athletes were placed in groups  based on age. They received hands-on instruction from coaches, learned fundamental basketball skills, and competed against other high school competitors. This experience was a dream come true for SSD students Charlie Marsh and Katy Sibenmann. They never thought that they would have the opportunity to meet Tatum, let alone get coached by him. They attend Nipher Middle School in Kirkwood and are going into the seventh grade. 

“I can’t believe that Jayson Tatum is here,” said Marsh. “It’s really cool that we get to practice with him.”

Timmy Siebmann, a Kirkwood student and Katy’s brother, also participated in the camp. That alone made the experience extra special. “Knock-out is the best game,” said Katy. “I like that I get to do it while hanging out with my brother and my best friend, Charlie.” 

Each camper received an autograph from Tatum, a team photo, and a ProCamp t-shirt. Thomas is thankful for the efforts put forth by camp leaders, athletes, and unified partners. 

“This camp provided meaningful skill building and competition opportunities for our athletes. We would love to see this opportunity result in more athletes and Unified partners in SSD schools sharing their excitement about participating in Special Olympics Missouri Unified Basketball this winter,” said Thomas.