After the balls stop bouncing and the layup drills cease at this week's Travis Hansen basketball camp, Travis and LaRee Hansen hope basketball skills aren't the only thing their campers learned.
Rewind to 2003 as Hansen, the former Mountain View High and Brigham Young University player, signed a two-year contract to play professional basketball in Russia. Eager to start a family, the young couple endured a miscarriage on a failed in vitro attempt. LaRee Hansen began visiting the orphanages in Russia.
What she found rocked her to her core.
"The main thing to me was there was no foster care and the kids were placed in orphanages," said LaRee Hansen. "Some of these kids were never told they were loved, never hugged or kissed, and I know that is what made me the person that I am."
Campers in Lehi this week will get their fair share of basketball tutelage, but a focus of the camp will be making welcome kits for patients at Primary Children's Medical Center. "We always bring in a rep from the organization we are going to help," said Travis Hansen. "The kids really see the struggles of others and are able to experience it and do something about it."
Last year, campers discovered needs for homeless people in Spanish Fork. New school materials, shoes and hygiene kits for the youth were hand delivered.
Money raised from the camp will go directly to the Hansens' foundation, Little Heroes, which came to life after LaRee discovered the lack of love in a Russian orphanage.
"Just like our slogan says, we hope to instill the hero within," said Travis Hansen. "Each child is so important and valuable and when they have confidence they can do anything and be anything they want."
Since Little Heroes began operations in 2007, the nonprofit has renovated orphanages in Russia, built several schools in Mali and made possible 192 adoptions.
"We are on this Earth for a reason, and if these kids find out what they are here to do, they will accomplish some great things," said LaRee Hansen.
This year's camp featured BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose and former BYU standout Marty Haws as speakers.
Camp for kids
P Former Mountain View and BYU standout Travis Hansen is hosting a basketball camp in Lehi, July 6-8. Benefits from the event go directly to the Little Heroes Foundation.
The Hansens, Travis and LaRee, have a deep affection for the less fortunate, and began the Little Heroes Foundation after touring orphanages in Russia.
Campers attending the 2011 Travis Hansen camp are building welcome kits for patients staying at Primary Children's Medical Center.