SAFFORD — Youths of the Gila Valley got to enjoy an intensive week of basketball camp hosted by Safford’s Robert Abalos, learning everything from fundamentals to drills that improve skills.

The camp has a lengthy history spanning decades and several coaches. Abalos has been able to continue the tradition.

“I did it for a long time with Tad Jacobson, but now he’s moved on to Benson. I remember this camp when I was this age, and that was a long time ago.

“Hopefully, this is something these kids will remember, maybe take a few things from this camp. For the most part, it gives them something to do, be here in the summertime, and compete a little bit and learn some skills. It also gives our high school kids an opportunity to pass on some things they’ve learned. They were here not too long ago.”

Camp helper and Safford senior Jessica Bright-Schade was one of the high schoolers helping teach campers a few things.

“I love it. Basketball is one of my favorite sports, and it’s such an opportunity to teach these kids a little bit about this great sport. It’s so much fun,” Bright-Schade said.

Camper Alexander Merino has been learning dribbling, shooting, passing and control.

“My favorite part is shooting,” Merino said. “I like how you have to shoot and wait your turn, and where to do it and retain your dribbling.”

Merino went on to demonstrate what he meant, showing that the drill helped with balance and form.

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