I’ve had the idea to try to start an international basketball camp in Istria for a long time now, because I consider Umag (and Istria in its entirety) a favourable location for this. First of all, I have Istrian roots and, secondly, the location is excellent: Umag is only a few kilometres from Slovenia and Istria, with good transport connections to the rest of Europe, and it is very conveniently located. What I particularly like about Istria is its relaxed mentality, its openness and friendly atmosphere, all of which I respect greatly and consider ideal for this kind of project.
This was the third year that the camp was held, and we aim to attract 20% more participants each time. This year, we achieved a number of over a hundred participants, which is the maximum for one course. I suppose that, next year, we’re going to open another course, as people are also asking about August. We try to maintain a high level of quality – better results can always be achieved and we learn something new every year, so we’re trying to perfect the organisation of the camp to the greatest extent possible.
One thing I would like to particularly commend is the work done on the court, i.e. the names and coaches that arrive here. Some of them are still players and are taking their first steps as coaches right here, which I think is a great thing for children as nobody can demonstrate the game better than former players. At this age, children learn better by imitating movements than by learning information – they don’t have much of an attention span and are quite playful, but when they’re watching something they like to imitate it. The coaches are great, the halls are first-class, and our working conditions are also excellent. Due to the large number of children, we play in two halls and on four courts. We are very pleased that Umag is developing into a sports-oriented town, and that there are plans for other sports-related projects that ought to be executed in the future.
In addition to its location and infrastructure, in Umag we also receive friendly assistance from Umag Basketball Club and the City of Umag. Unfortunately, I’m never able to enjoy the city as much as I would want to, as the pace is quite demanding – but that’s all in a day’s work. Our goal is to keep the camp alive and to one day hold two, or maybe even three courses per year.
As for our B4U team, it includes Primoz Samar, the coach of the U14 Slovenian national team, Mihael Pesta from Slovakia and Stevica Rusmir, Teddy Delač and Krešimir Kozlevčar, our local coaches. We also host guest coaches every year, and more and more players are attending.
This year, we had participants from five countries. All of them are very satisfied, and I believe that they will come again. This tells us that the camp is high-quality, and that the news about it is rapidly spreading.
On the last day of the course, we usually go to the city centre all together so that the children can get to know the destination better, and we usually take unforgettable photos there to our mutual satisfaction. Our wish is to promote Umag and to improve our own quality and receive some promotion in return. This year, the Tourist Board of Umag has organised a train for us that took the participants of the camp on a ride around the town to familiarise them with the destination.
Our project is growing with every new year, and news of the camp is spreading fast. The participants of the camp make great new friendships and contacts here, and these are unforgettable days for the youngsters – I’m speaking from experience, because I went through all of this myself. They have a great time here, and what is particularly important is that we also had 20 girls in the camp this year, which made the camp even more interesting and enriched the whole thing. This camp is a project that I’m very emotionally connected to, and I would really like for it to reach the level that we desire. For now, I’m doing what I do with all of my heart – as for the rest, come what may!
I would like to invite all young people that want to play basketball to join us. This is a true basketball camp and the emphasis is on basketball – I’m a bit strict about this – however, we also take care to leave the children enough free time for swimming and leisure activities.