PrimeTime585’s basketball camp is teaching more than just hoop skills

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — PrimeTime585 is hosting its 18th annual Coach Iglesia Free Basketball Camp this week.

But this camp isn’t like all the others.

At East High, young athletes are running drills and learning better techniques. But there’s also a lot of focus on life skills mixed in.

“This is a basketball camp, but we also talk about things that are going on in their lives. Mental health is going on in their lives right now, fentanyl is a huge issue right now in this particular community,” PrimeTime585 co-founder Karen Iglesia said.

Iglesia has put on this camp annually for the past 18 years. And every year, she wants the players to learn more than just basketball skills.

“The classroom stuff that they have us do, I feel like it’s all about being a better person and just different life skills,” player Damarius Owens said.

During a session Tuesday, the focus was on caring for your mental health and the dangers of fentanyl.

“Thankfully young people are not our greatest population of overdoses. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t as risk, especially when they’re thinking about using drugs that could be tainted with fentanyl. Specifically, pills that someone might buy on the street as well as the cocaine supply,” said Jason Teller, Monroe County Manager of Addiction and Preventative Services.

Iglesia says mental health has to be a priority for players, their school districts, their coaches, and their parents.

“A lot of our kids are suffering. Our goal is to say it’s okay to not be okay but it’s not okay to suffer in silence,” Iglesia said.

The message that Iglesia is putting out is reaching 165 kids from 67 school districts at this camp.

She says the goal is to have them bring it back home with them and share it with those who need to hear it.