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Citi ProCamps: the Ultimate Basketball Camp Experience

Aug20

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This post is sponsored by Citi. To learn more about access to the best in live music, sports, dining, family entertainment and more with an eligible Citi® credit card or Citibank® Debit MasterCard visit http://www.citiprivatepass.com.  To get involved in the conversation happening right now with Citi and ProCamps visit www.closertopro.com.

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you would know how my 11 year old son, Ry, is a hard core basketball player.  My husband introduced our son to the sport after having been a young basketball athlete himself. The two of them play lots of ball and my husband even coaches my son’s team.  Me?  My job is to record the moments. You’ll often see status updates from me, photos or videos of Ry practicing or wearing his colorful basketball gear.  My most used hashtag is now #basketballmoms.

Basketball has been Ry’s obsession for the past 12 months. During this year’s spring break, skiing in Colorado, we travelled across the country with his basketball in hand, and Ry would leave the slopes early to shoot hoops at a local school’s gym. Now whenever we’re looking to book a getaway vacation, I call our hotel options to see whether they have basketball hoop on property (it has become THE deciding factor). Yeah, it’s basketball 24-7, 52 weeks, 365 days a year in this house. We subscribe to the NBA channel, I watched almost every NBA playoff game this year, and Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Ray Allen have all become regular names rolling off my tongue now.

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

Needless to say, when I learned about Citi’s ProCamps– where kids can attend day camps and play alongside their favorite professional athletes (not just basketball)– I almost lost my mind with excitement. I scrolled the ProCamps website and read about all the one- and two-day camps hosted across the country by my son’s favorite basketball athletes. I started to fantasize about surprising him with a weekend trip to attend Stephen Curry’s camp in San Francisco. The camps are limited to 200 kids and sell-out quickly.  But, through Citi Private Pass, you get first dibs if you’re a Citi card member.

And then it happened. My son and I were invited by Citi to attend Ray Allen’s basketball camp in Hartford, Connecticut. (Ray Allen is basketball royalty and one of the best 3-point and free-throw shooters in NBA history). I would get to be able to gift Ry this ultimate and exclusive basketball camp experience. Yeah, make that #HeroBasketballMom. And that weekend, I was not the only one. At the Ray Allen camp, lots of parents travelled many hours to get there. I live three hours from Hartford and I’ve never seen my son so excited to wake up at 5am.  I met another family from Boston and coincidentally ran into a blogging friend from northern New Jersey who had made the extra long trip to surprise her young Miami-Heat-fan son.

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

The camp was an intensive three-hour experience each day, with boys and girls organized by ages, from six years old up to teens into teams of 10.  Each team had their own coach and the teams were divided into three separate gyms.  Wearing Ray Allen camp t-shirts, the kids were put through a series of drills and games while Ray along with guest teacher and former Miami Heat teammate James Jones (JJ) went from group to group, observing the kids, talking to them and then giving specific tips and pointers.

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

The day started out and ended with short and inspirational speeches from Ray and JJ to the group. Ray is a pretty serious athlete so it was fun to see him all smiles during special game challenges with the kids. Ray invited a dozen teenagers to play a fast-paced game of Three-Point Knock-Out. The last three players standing were Ray and JJ (of course) along with a teen girl basketball athlete (it was great to see so many girls at basketball camp).

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

Then another dozen kids were picked to take three-point shots, with the winner getting a signed basketball (pro-tip: tell your child to sit in the front row if s/he wants to get picked). Ray even walked us all through, and explained, how he made that famous winning three-point shot in Game 6 of the NBA Championship semi-finals in 2013.  Luckily at ProCamps, parents are allowed to sit along the sidelines throughout the day listening to the athletes’ advice and snapping pictures of their kids.

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

Citi ProCamps is an incredibly special opportunity for children to learn from and play with their favorite pro athletes. I know that camps vary in price but the Ray Allen camp was priced at $159 for two days and I think worth it for the extra-special experience.  In fact, Citi Private Pass members (available to any Citi card holder) can also sign up for a small intimate lunch with the pro athlete. There are usually only 15 or less spaces available and for an extra $50-$75 you get an additional VIP opportunity to have lunch with the athlete where each kid gets to ask the athlete a question, to take an individual photo with him/her and also a signed autograph. My son had his favorite new sneakers signed by both Ray Allen and JJ.

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

Between spring and summer vacations, my son Ry has had about 10 weeks of basketball camp experience. He’s attended four different elite national basketball camps in both Florida and here in NYC; so Ry’s pretty qualified at this point to evaluate basketball camps. For the most part, he’s not a big fan of drills, instead wanting opportunities for game play so I was surprised when he shared that the he enjoyed drills at the Ray Allen camp. Pressed further, in typical 11-year old boy fashion, he added “they were fun drills.” Yep, his answers are short and sweet.

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

I have been so eager to share this experience with you, friends. If your child loves to play sports, please look at the amazing opportunities ProCamps offer. This is a wonderful extra special gift for a young athlete. Peruse the website and learn about all the A-list athletes that share their time with kids by holding camps around the country.  Sign up for Citi Private Pass and be notified extra early about upcoming athletic camps and signups for the VIP lunches. Upcoming basketball camps around the country include ones with John Wall, Iman Shumpert, Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony.

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

Citi is also holding an amazing sweepstakes you can enter to win the Ultimate ProCamps experience. They will fly one family of four (2 adults and 2 kids) round-trip to a half-day ProCamps sport session of the winner’s choice (based on availability) during the 2015 summer session. They will also pay for two nights of hotel accommodations. To enter to win, follow and send a tweet to @CitiPrivatePass telling them how you cheer your kid on, and use #CloserToPro and #Sweeps in your tweet. This amazing sweepstakes is open through 11:59:59 EST on September 25th, 2014. My son has already asked me several times to enter, and I think you should too!

Ray Allen Citi ProCamp: ultimate basketball camp experience

Ry taking a break at camp: wall sits and dribbling

My son has already asked me several times to enter, and I think you should too!

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This post is sponsored by Citi. To learn more about access to the best in live music, sports, dining, family entertainment and more with an eligible Citi® credit card or Citibank® Debit MasterCard visit http://www.citiprivatepass.com.  To get involved in the conversation happening right now with Citi and ProCamps visit www.closertopro.com.

About the author

Isabel Kallman

http://www.alphamom.com
Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of Alphamom.com.

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


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One Response to “Citi ProCamps: the Ultimate Basketball Camp Experience”

  1. Stacie Sep 24 at 9:23 am Reply Reply

    This is so awesome. Thanks for sharing. And my fingers (and toes) are crossed!

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