Connor Kids Academy, one of several non-profit programs conceived, funded and administered by The Connor Group Kids & Community Partners, is an innovative approach to youth sports programming. It provides under-resourced kids with a potentially life-changing three-year experience, leveraging professional and college athletes and coaches to provide impactful in-person experiences and an interactive app that promotes healthy habits and choices.
And while the program impacts kids year-round, the highlight, undoubtedly, occurs during the summer when the program hosts its annual sports camps.
In its second year CKA grew from 33 students and one market to 88 students in two markets – hosting camps with the University of Dayton men’s basketball program and University of Cincinnati men’s basketball program.
Coaches and players worked with campers not just on basketball skills – reining NBA slam dunk champion Obi Toppin made an appearance at the Dayton camp – but on life skills as well. Staff and special guests led lessons and activities tied to the program’s curriculum, which focuses on healthy habits, as well as decision-making.
“Like everything we do, we raised the bar from Year 1 to Year 2,” said Kids & Community VP Chuck Denning. “We looked at the mistakes we made in the first year and they definitely made this year’s experience more impactful.”
“But we still have a long list of plusses and minuses. If we’re going to introduce this program into more Connor Group markets – and that’s the plan – we need to look for ways to make it even more scalable and more impactful.
Connor Kids Academy, like all Kids & Community initiatives, is funded mostly through Connor Group property operations and transactions.
Chuck planned and operated this year’s camps with K&C coordinator Brandi Luttrell and newly-hired CKA director Alex Klein, who will help scale the program into new markets.