Kids in New Town finished up a Timberwolves and Lynx two-day basketball camp. They had a once-in-lifetime experience to meet coaches and former players from the NBA and WNBA.

The Timberwolves and Lynx Academy made a pit-stop during its summer tour.

“Basketball really is a tool of connection. And what’s happening at the highest level, people see a lot of glory in the NBA and WNBA. I think it goes a lot deeper than just basketball,” said John Thomas, Vice President of basketball development for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx.

They learned the fundamentals and ran drills with help from the coaches. They also learned important life lessons.

“Growth mindset, leadership, character, dealing with adversity, communication, teamwork, so many facets of the game have been a wonderful experience for me, but now we come back from the Timberwolves academy perspective and give back to the kids,” Thomas added.

The message seems to be sticking.

“I’ve learned how to be a better person, to be more positive and just to have an open mindset to work harder,” said seventh-grader Peyton White Buffalo. He hopes to play for the NBA.

Inspiring hope is another key component. The Academy is showing kids that just because they’re from a small town, they’re opportunities aren’t limited.

“If we don’t see someone in our shoes and in a role that we can relate to, then we don’t think we have a future in that,” said Breanna Salley, manager Academy.

Continuing a healthy trend Three Affiliated Tribes will be setting up a reservation-wide basketball league in two weeks. It will have different guest speakers to teach them about living a healthy life and last six weeks.

“The more consistent we are, the more of a foundation we can build for our kids to live healthier lifestyles and that’s what this is all about. Having a healthy mind, body and spirit,” said Kevin Finley, activities director Four Bears Segment.

The coaches will come back in August and check the progress they’ve made throughout the summer. The Timberwolves and Lynx Academy will inspire hope in fifteen more places this summer.

And when they do return in August, they’ll invite kids to attend a Timberwolves and Lynx game.