WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Playing host to youth basketball camps is a rite of summer for many professional coaches, and Whitman College men's basketball coach Skip Molitor is no exception. This summer, however, Molitor has added a new twist to his camp offerings. In addition to his regular week-long camp for area youth, he is organizing a two-day, Spanish-language camp for the region's Hispanic population.
"If our goal is to do more outreach with the local Hispanic community, which is something I've wanted to do for some time, it makes sense to have a camp in which the instructors speak Spanish rather English," Molitor said.
Molitor's "Campamento de Basquetbol" is slated for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7-8, in the Sherwood Center gymnasium. Children ages seven to 10 will meet from 9 a.m. to noon both days, while youngsters between the ages of 11 and 14 will meet from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The cost is $10 per player. All participants receive a free t-shirt and basketball.
Molitor, who describes himself as moderately conversational in Spanish, will run the camp with considerable help from two instructors who have a much stronger grasp of the language. They are Jay McLaughlin, a former Whitman basketball player who recently returned from a two-year Peace Corps mission in Panama, and Carla Lobos, a native of Chile who teaches at a Walla Walla elementary school.
Evan Jones, a former Whitman player who graduated to become Molitor's assistant coach, will also help teach the camp. "Both Jay and Carla are fluent in Spanish, but teaching this camp won't be quite as easy for Evan and me," Molitor said. "It will essentially force the two of us to get out there and habla espanol as best we can. We're looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun for everyone involved."
Molitor, who began learning Spanish in high school and while studying at Gonzaga University, took a crash course in the language in 1988 when he spent several months teaching and coaching at a Jesuit high school in Peru.
McLaughlin, a 1994 Whitman graduate, served his Peace Corps mission in Panama with his wife, Bridget Moyer McLaughlin, a graduate of DeSales High School in Walla Walla and Gonzaga University. The couple spent two years in a small village in the Panamanian rainforest. Jay now teaches and coaches basketball at Glenwood (Wash.) High School, while Bridget works as a counselor at the same school and coaches volleyball.
Lobos and her family were living in Chile when military strongman Augusto Pinochet seized power in 1973. Her father, who had served as Minister of Agriculture, was imprisoned for a number of years by the Pinochet regime. The family eventually settled in Washington's Yakima Valley. Carla, who played high school basketball in Sunnyside, Wash., earned her teaching degree at Eastern Washington University and now teaches and coaches basketball at Walla Walla's Green Park Elementary School.
For more information about "Campamento de Basquetbol," call Molitor at (509) 527-4970. Registration forms are available weekday mornings at the Sherwood Center office.
Dave Holden, Whitman Sports Information, 509 527-5902