COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Former Mizzou basketball star Laurence Bowers is holding the 6th annual Camp Bowers this week at the Columbia Sports Fieldhouse.
Bowers said 178 kids signed up to participate in this year's camp. There are two separate sessions.
- Ages 8-11 go from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Ages 12-16 go from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Bowers said safety is a top priority for him and his staff. Before entering the fieldhouse, all campers, parents and staff have to get their temperature taken.
Bowers said each basketball court in the fieldhouse is considered its own venue, so the camp is able to fall within the Boone County health guidelines.
The former MU star said he and his staff are doing their best to clean and sanitize the gym as well.
"I don't think there's any paranoia, and I think that's a good sign," Bowers said. "I think kids want to play basketball. They want to be with their friends."
Bowers said he's happy to be able to give back to the kids during these unprecedented times.
"I think that’s the biggest thing," Bowers said. "It’s not about money. It’s not about any of that type of stuff. It’s really about shedding a positive light."
Bowers added the camp provides a sense of normalcy for the kids.
"I have the most kids I’ve ever had, and I think that’s because kids are dying to do things," Bowers said "I’m excited just to be in the position that I am to have this camp and hopefully it’ll turn out to be one of the best ones we've ever had."
Several current and former local collegiate basketball players are helping out as volunteer coaches, including Jeremiah Tilmon, Jordan Roundtree and Torrence Watson.
"I know everyone's excited to be in the gym," Roundtree said. "When Laurence asked me to do it, I was super excited. I know the kids are super excited, so it's good to just be in the gym again."
"It's going to be a good time to just have fun and show people that there's still life out there and don't dwell off of the bad," Tilmon said.
On a different note - Tilmon said he's planning on returning to MU for his senior season, but he does not have to give his final decision until August 3.
"I plan on returning and just finishing strong and getting my degree," Tilmon said.