Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarships help change lives - Carolina Country

Lessons from the Court

Touchstone Energy Sports Camp is helping to change the lives of youth.

By Kellie Bradley

Kellie Bradley

Kellie Bradley

As Rutherford EMC members, our family has been blessed with two Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarships — my son in 2016 and my daughter in 2023. I have seen firsthand how these camps are helping to change the lives of our NC students.

My son, Colton, was so proud to walk up the steps to the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, knowing he had earned the right to be there. Those days at camp transformed my son — not only in relation to the game, but also in how he viewed himself. Before camp, Colton was not as confident in himself or his abilities as he was when he left camp. We were always yelling from the stands, “Take the shot!” Working with the coaches and players at Chapel Hill helped boost his confidence. He wasn’t as timid anymore when he played because he had been on the actual Tar Heels’ court playing basketball.

The opportunity that the sports camp scholarship gave Colton was so much more than basketball; it helped instill confidence, which trickles into all aspects of life. Even today, Colton holds on to those lessons and “takes his shots.”

These camps are about so much more than just basketball. These camps help teach discipline, responsibility and teamwork.

The summer of 2023 provided our family with a new experience with Touchstone Energy Sports Camps — the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp. Preslie, my daughter, had applied as a rising 6th grader in the spring of 2023; not just because she loves basketball, but because she saw her brother do it and the difference it made in his life.

Preslie wanted to try out for the middle school team as well and wanted the experience of working with college athletes and coaches. Preslie bonded with the team that she was assigned to for the week and continues to text them today. She returned for the NC State camp reunion game in December and reconnected with her teammates and coaches. This bond is special because they all shared a unique experience together. Preslie enjoyed the “dorm life” and responsibilities given to her at camp. She now has a better understanding of what it takes to be organized and ready for action. 

I am grateful to North Carolina’s electric cooperatives and the opportunities they are giving to our children across the state through the Touchstone Energy Sports Camp scholarship program. These camps are about so much more than just basketball. These camps help teach discipline, responsibility and teamwork. Our youth need to be exposed to these types of experiences today. Being able to go to a college campus, spend the week, and interact with players and coaches is priceless. These camps may be the small seeds that grow into big dreams — and maybe realities — for these young people.

About the Author

Kellie Bradley is a teacher at Sunny View Elementary in Polk County.

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