By Naeisha Rose
Rapper, actor and philanthropist LL Cool J will hold his 14th Annual Jump & Ball Summer Camp Experience at Daniel O’Connell Park in St. Albans for southeast Queens kids ages 8 to 18 every weekend in August for free.
“Jump & Ball is a free, fun-filled camp every Saturday and Sunday during the month of August for hundreds of kids from southeast Queens… where I grew up,” said LL Cool J. It’s “an opportunity for the kids in our community to participate in a program that promotes physical health and wellness.”
The entertainer wants the summer basketball camp held at 113-01 196th St. to teach children team-building and leadership skills, which he believes are critical to life off the court.
Participants will learn the fundamentals of ball handling, shooting skills, defense and other techniques so that they will be able to play basketball competitively, according to LL Cool J.
“Tournament games will also take place to showcase competitive basketball games with teams from the local community,” said the rapper.
The philanthropist, who partnered with the Queens Chambers of Commerce for the program, wants local businesses in the borough to help sponsor the event for the 200 campers by contacting his spokeswoman Erin Faulkner at (323) 466-0046.
“We are seeking assistance from you, our fellow Queens business owners and friends of the community, by becoming a sponsor and/or donor to help us continue to impact and provide enriching experiences for the children,” said LL Cool J.
All contributions will go directly towards shirts, jerseys, equipment, 600 community meals (water, snacks, and food), security, pay for camp staff and park maintenance, according to Brett Swanson, a spokesman for the Queens Chambers of Commerce. Registered campers will receive the items after the parents sign them up at llcoo
Participants will be trained in basketball by certified coaches, directors, referees and trainers, according to Swanson.
Since the program takes place before the beginning of the school year, campers will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.
“Each year I want to provide the kids with a bigger and better experience than the year before, and with this being the 14th year, we are pulling out all of the stops!” the rapper said.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose