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  • NY Knicks Youth Engagement Manager Talks About Empowering Kids Through Sports

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    junior knicksOur Give Thanks Series continues with Kiki Campbell, manager of Youth Engagement and Fan Development for the New York Knicks. Kiki helps run a program called Junior Knicks, the New York Knicks youth basketball department. We asked her to share her experience in this role, her relationship with Backyard Sports Cares, and about the impact that sports and basketball, in particular, has had on her life and the lives of kids from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

     

    LISTEN to our podcast with Kiki Campbell, Manager of Youth Engagement and Fan Development for the New York Knicks

    BYSC: The New York Knicks/Westchester Knicks have been a good partner to us in the past and we wanted folks to understand a little bit about what you do. You’ve got an interesting program specifically designed for kids, called Junior Knicks. Tell us about that.

    Kiki Campbell: This past August, I started my new role with the Junior Knicks, which is the New York Knicks youth basketball department. Previous to that role, I was the manager of business operations, specifically for the Westchester Knicks. So, I had my hands in everything, especially the youth basketball world in Westchester.

    The Junior Knicks has been established for years, but in the past two seasons, it was pushed more to work and collaborate with organizations to help elevate their programs, as well as elevating their youth basketball coaches, and to also grow the game and sport of basketball.

    BYSC: So, give us an example of some of the ways that you do that through Junior Knicks.

    Junior-Knicks-AssistKiki Campbell: Absolutely. One of our most exciting programs is the Junior Knicks Assist Program, which is a new initiative that started this season through a sponsorship with Fidelis Care. We partner with non-profit organizations to help raise funds for the organization through basketball games. So, all the ticket proceeds, silent auction, 90% of all net proceeds go back to the organization to fund their mission.

    BYSC: How often do these basketball fundraisers take place? Is it a regular thing in Westchester? 

    Kiki Campbell: This is something new this year, and we’re contracted to do three. Our next two are not in Westchester, but the vision for this is to grow and to really expand how we work with non-profits. Once we have a game, and we are hoping to schedule one in February, any non-profit organization can go on the website to learn more and apply to host one of our benefit games.

    BYSC: Tell us about your summer camp?

    Kiki Campbell: The Knicks have had an amazing summer camp over the years. My director does a great job hosting these camps. This past summer over 200 kids had the opportunity to attend our basketball camp program.  We also provide scholarships for some kids who are not able to pay full admission. We held two scholarship sessions in Bronxville this year. Over the course of 12-weeks, we go to different locations. So, aside from Bronxville, we host at Baruch, locations in New Jersey, the Hamptons, among other venues. When parents want to have some time off, they can send their kids to Knicks Camp. It’s a good time.

    BYSC: How did you get involved with Backyard Sports? What are some of the things that you’ve done together?

    Kiki Campbell: Our relationship started in 2014 with a cold call from me selling tickets. When I got Danny Bernstein on the phone, he’s like, “You have got a lot going on here, but I feel like we can gain more from this relationship. Let’s meet at City Limits.” Since then we’ve done a lot together. My organization has donated tickets from the Westchester Knicks and Danny has helped us by bringing families out to a game, and collaborating on small programming, such as basketball clinics or bringing athletes to the organizations we support, so kids and families can meet them. We work together toward a common purpose, which is to get kids involved in team sports.

    BYSC: We really do thank you for that. So, what is your mission? What do you want to accomplish as it relates to kids, and helping them to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and really flourish in the game of basketball?

    Kiki Campbell: You know, it’s funny, because basketball means so much to me, and it’s done so much for aside from just being able to play and enjoy the sport. I just want to be able to share that experience with as many kids as possible, especially young kids that look like me, who may not have had all the support they needed in their upbringing. I want them to know that there’s more opportunity than what’s on the court. Basketball has brought me long-lasting relationships, long-lasting friendships, and it’s turned into a career for me that I never thought possible. I want to share my story, and help kids create their own story through this vehicle we call basketball. However that looks, I just want to be a part of it.

    BYSC: Is there anything else you’d like to make sure folks know and understand as it relates to some of the programs and initiatives that you’re offering?

    Kiki Campbell: Absolutely. We are shifting our strategic perspective over the next three to five years, and we want folks to follow us on social to keep up with the offerings and information we’re putting out to the community for kids. They can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Our handle is JuniorKnicks. Check out some of the programming that we have coming up in the next few months. Just continue to stay active and patient with us. We’re looking to build up the New York mentality in the next few years.

    I like what Backyard Sports is doing as a whole. Not to be so broad, but in the community for kids it’s great. I truly appreciate what Backyard Sports and Danny has done for me in my professional career. It speaks volumes about the kind of person he is and who he surrounds himself with.

    BYSC: So, if folks want to take a visit to your website, what is the URL?

    Kiki Campbell: They can visit us at www.nba.com/knicks/junior

    Special needs peer mentor shares why he’s been a BYSC teen volunteer for 3 years

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    It’s funny how the universe — and moms — seem to surface just what we need before we know we need it. Backyard Sports Cares volunteer peer mentor, Alec Greenwald, talks to us about his surprising experience working with special needs children and teens participating in BYSC Plus Program. WATCH our interview with BYSC teen … Continue reading “Special needs peer mentor shares why he’s been a BYSC teen volunteer for 3 years”

    How Charles DeFrancesco’s Special Needs Son Inspired Him to Launch Fit 4 Fun

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    Charles DeFrancesco Aims to Forge a Fitness Path for All Abilities Backyard Sports Cares caught up with Charles DeFrancesco, a certified personal trainer and owner of the Arena,  a personal training facility located in White Plains. Charles recently launched a new program called Fit 4 Fun to provide kids with special needs a place to go … Continue reading “How Charles DeFrancesco’s Special Needs Son Inspired Him to Launch Fit 4 Fun”

    Good Sports removes barriers for kids who want to play

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    Categories At risk youth, under-served communitiesTags ,

    Since we are now officially in the month of giving thanks, we thought we’d take this opportunity to cast the spotlight on some amazing organizations that are really trying to move the needle when it comes to raising healthy and happy kids. Our first subject is Melissa Rundlett, partnership coordinator at Good Sports, a national … Continue reading “Good Sports removes barriers for kids who want to play”

    Dwight (Doc) Gooden Cheers on 150+ High School Students and Adults as they Compete to Raise $80K in Support of Backyard Sports Cares Programs for At-risk and Special Needs Kids of Westchester County 

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    Categories 3 on 3

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Lisa Kaslyn Prosper Communications lisa@prospercomm.com   Legendary NY Mets Pitcher, Dwight (Doc) Gooden, Cheers on Players – Shares Experience, Strength and Hope with Attendees and Teens from the Youth Shelter of Westchester Funds Raised will Continue to Support BYSC’ Vital Community Sports Programs Serving 3,000 Kids from the Youth Shelter of … Continue reading “Dwight (Doc) Gooden Cheers on 150+ High School Students and Adults as they Compete to Raise $80K in Support of Backyard Sports Cares Programs for At-risk and Special Needs Kids of Westchester County “

    Dedicated sponsors, donors, 150+ players, and Doc Gooden make BYSC 2018 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament a success

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    Categories 3 on 3

    Tournament raises $80,000 to support valued sports activity programs in Westchester benefitting thousands of at-risk and special needs kids Visit our Facebook Page to access our 3 vs. 3 event album and view images of the event, courtesy of Meagan Dwyer Sports Photography — And don’t forget to “like” us! “I am deeply grateful and … Continue reading “Dedicated sponsors, donors, 150+ players, and Doc Gooden make BYSC 2018 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament a success”

    Dr. Christina tells why sports are important for all kids — And role modeling is key!

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    Categories 3 on 3, special needs sports, At risk youth, under-served communities, fundraisingTags ,

    PM Pediatrics has been a community partner to Backyard Sports Cares for a number of years. Their contribution to the welfare of children and adolescent health and wellness in Westchester is matched by their time, commitment and generosity in helping foster the sports activity programs we provide to at-risk and special needs kids. We talked … Continue reading “Dr. Christina tells why sports are important for all kids — And role modeling is key!”

    What’s it like to compete at the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament — A player’s perspective

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    We recently caught up with a really good friend. Peter Finkelstein has been a part of the Backyard Sports Cares family for a number of years. He hails from Scarsdale and recently moved to White Plains. And as a business owner in Mount Kisco, he has a large presence in the Westchester community. We asked … Continue reading “What’s it like to compete at the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament — A player’s perspective”

    A sponsor’s perspective on why you should participate in the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament

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    With one month to go before our big 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament, we wanted to help demystify the event while paying homage to some of our loyal sponsors who continue to support us and the recreation programs that we bring to disadvantaged Westchester kids and to those with special needs. One of our long-time … Continue reading “A sponsor’s perspective on why you should participate in the BYSC 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament”

    Young men from Youth Shelter Program of Westchester join BYSC for a weekend at Brant Lake Camp

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    Categories At risk youth, under-served communities, summer campTags ,

    Earlier this month, Backyard Sports Cares coordinated an extended weekend to Brant Lake Camp in the Adirondacks for 12 teen residents from the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester. For many of these at-risk young men, it was their first time officially camping, and for others, it was their first foray out of an urban environment and into … Continue reading “Young men from Youth Shelter Program of Westchester join BYSC for a weekend at Brant Lake Camp”

    The guru behind the GAGA ball — And BYSC’s Mission GAGA 2018

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    Categories Volunteers, afterschool programs, GaGa programTags , , ,

    When you hear the name Talon Athletics, the sport of GaGa may not spring to mind, but it should. Based on an inspiration by Scott Blumberg and Will Perez more than five years ago, Talon Athletics has grown into the largest supplier of GaGa Pits, protective gloves, as well as the premier host of GaGa … Continue reading “The guru behind the GAGA ball — And BYSC’s Mission GAGA 2018”

    Youth Soccer Participation has Fallen Sharply — Cost of Entry Among Principle Causes

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    Categories afterschool programs, inclusive sports, Soccer, under-served communitiesTags

    This past week, the New York Times published a story about the decline in youth soccer participation in the US. According to the report, over the past three years, the percentage of 6- to 12-year-olds playing soccer regularly has dropped nearly 14 percent, to 2.3 million players. The number of children who touched a soccer … Continue reading “Youth Soccer Participation has Fallen Sharply — Cost of Entry Among Principle Causes”