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Joppatowne alum wants to launch basketball camp with 'impact'

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com

12:23 PM EST, January 14, 2014

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A young Joppatowne High School alum said he wants to help other young people succeed through a new basketball camp.

Ryan Stokeling, 21, and a student at Neumann University in Aston, Pa., told the Edgewood Community Council Thursday that he plans to launch the Hoop Impact Basketball Camp this summer.

Stokeling got the idea after attending a sports camp in North Carolina that he said had a great impact on his life.

"It can be an impact they'll never forget," he said. "I'm a key product of it."

Stokeling, whose mother is helping him organize the program, said the camp would run in June and would offer children ages 8 to 17 more than just basketball.

The camp would feature mentors that stress the importance of education, staying in school and staying off drugs.

He said he wants to let youth know that "basketball is not the only thing society offers" and wants them to be productive members of society.

Stokeling explained he watched many potential athletes go through Joppatowne, but not really "make it" outside of Harford County, either because of bad grades or bad influences like substance abuse.

He said he was always told to have a "plan B" instead of just playing basketball.

"You can't count on going to the NBA," he said. "Now I'm not going to the NBA and I don't mind at all."

The camp would run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and would be a place where youth can "learn not just about basketball but how you can stay successful out of the streets."

He also wants to offer attendees food, equipment and anything else they might need.

"We want them to have no worries," he said, adding: "Basketball definitely can also be very therapeutic."

Stokeling said he would have liked the camp to be in Joppa, but Edgewood makes more sense because there are several schools close together.

He said more information on the camp should be available by the end of the month at hoopimpact.com.

Enterprise zone

Bridgette Johnson, of the county's economic development office, led a public hearing on a proposed expansion of the Enterprise Zone in Edgewood.

The Enterprise Zone includes properties around the Route 40 corridor, Route 24, Route 755, Route 152 and Route 7.

The zone would be expanded to include a bundle of properties roughly next to and across Route 40 from Home Depot.

Johnson and economic development director Jim Richardson said including the additional properties would be an incentive for businesses to move into the Route 40 area, as an enterprise zone offers real property and state income tax credits.

Johnson said she did not expect the state to have a problem with the expansion. She said she has heard from two of the affected property owners who also did not have a problem with it.

Helping the homeless

Several women representing churches and community agencies said they continue to meet homeless people in the Route 40 area who have nowhere to go.

Mary Slade, a case worker for the Harford Community Action Agency and a volunteer at Mountain Christian Church's Edgewood campus, said she sees at least one person daily with no place to go, who has been living in a car and is looking for help.

She said families are especially struggling as many shelters only take women or men separately. The rare and dangerous cold snap earlier this week brought even more challenges to the homeless.

Deerfield Elementary School assistant principal Bang Tam Miller said she was confronted with the issue recently when she found an entire family that was homeless.

She said staff members at the school used their own money to get a room at the Edgewood Motel for a week for the family.