Ernie Oei Skills and Thrills Camp
For most, basketball camps are meant to be a chance for players to get in the gym, work on their game and improve their skills. For Jamie Oei and many others, one camp this winter break meant so much more. Hosted by Vancity Basketball Academy and “Dynamic Dan” All-Star Camps, the first “Ernie Oei Skills and Thrills” camp was organized to honour Ernie Oei, Jamie’s father, who passed away in November of 2016. In his spirit, the camp gave 100+ boys and girls across Vancouver the opportunity to come and train for FREE during the holiday break.
Ernie was a staple name across the North Shore(and greater) basketball community. In North Vancouver he taught, tutored, refereed, and coached for 40+ years helping youth achieve their own version of greatness on the court and in the classroom. Ernie, like many of the local hoops heroes, would do most of his work behind the scenes making sure as little attention was on him as possible. It was not uncommon for Ernie to be driving players, regardless of school or club affiliation whom he had no relation to, to their practices/games/tournaments simply for the reason he cared about these players and wanted them to have the opportunity to play the game. Distance? Didn’t matter. Inconvenient for him? Who cares.
The 100+ campers, across three sessions aged from 8-15, were greeted with a high energy atmosphere at the brand new Delbrook Rec Centre gym every day with the “Harlem Globetrotters” theme song blasting over the speakers. Thanks to generous sponsors, each camper left the camp with a new basketball, gift cards, snacks and a t-shirt donning Ernie’s mantra “ENERGY, ENTHUSIASM, EFFORT”. Coaches and volunteers included Ernie’s past players, alumni from his school, current North Shore Coaches, and current North Shore players, all impacted and inspired by Ernie and wanting to give back to his legacy.
But, perhaps the biggest the treat for the campers was the opportunity to learn from “Dynamic Dan” Miscisco himself(Basketball BC Hall of Fame and recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to their fellow citizens). Often credited with bringing Sports Camps to North Vancouver, his All-Star camps spanned decades giving youth the opportunity to develop their skills in various sports. “Dynamic Dan” came out of retirement for this camp as he worked with Ernie in the community for decades. Despite being 70+ his ENERGY is infectious and he is never shy to demo a drill, particularly one that would feature his jumpshot.
The four day Ernie Oei Skills and Thrills camp was truly a success as the 100+ boys and girls received high-level instruction, developed new skills, and had fun doing so. The Basketball Community, North Shore community, and sponsors all came together and ran a camp that would help Ernie’s legacy live on.
We miss you, Ernie.