CHARLOTTE – Dan McGovern has been running his Yes I Can Basketball in and around the Charlotte area since 1997.
The business has grown from instruction to leagues and summer camps and expanded to a few new locations, including gyms in uptown Charlotte, Matthews, Stallings, south Charlotte and most places in between.
But other than that, little has changed for McGovern and his camps that offer more than just the fundamentals of the game.
And that’s just the way he likes it.
“One of the things we struggled most with is anger from parents who are angry at us because our programs are sold out,” McGovern said. “We have to turn away kids and that’s because I don’t know that we want to expand that much. We have a good product, we are what we are. All we’re doing is filling a need.”
There is a need because Yes I Can Basketball isn’t like other basketball camps.
McGovern said when kids walk into his gyms, they hear the loud music playing – mostly instrumental so the lyrics won’t ever be an issue, but always upbeat.
“You walk in and it’s like, ‘What the heck is going on in here?”’ McGovern said. “The kids are laughing and going crazy, and it develops a system that works. It’s different, and it’s not your dad’s basketball camp.”
The basics of basketball side of the camp hasn’t changed at all in the more than 20 years of Yes I Can Basketball.
McGovern is a former college coach who amassed more than 300 career coaching wins, most of them at Barton Community College, where he is in the school’s Hall of Fame. At Barton, McGovern led his 1989 to the No. 1 ranking in the junior college standings and he’s coached four players who went on to play in the NBA.
So McGovern knows about coaching and instruction, but there is more to it to him than just the X’s and O’s of the game.
“We’re continuing to enjoy the reputation we’ve had since ‘97, when we started our year-round program,” he said. “We’ve simply been able to listen to what parents value and what kids like. Our year-round programs, camps and training focus on making it good for the families. I don’t think we’re a traditional camp. I’d summarize it as a Yes I Can experience, not a Yes I Can basketball camp.
“There’s going to be a heavy diet of instruction. We’re teaching all of the fundamentals: how to pick and roll, how to shoot and all of that but we want it to be more than that. Our success comes from our ability to search, find and recruit special teachers and counselors. I always look for ones who are more like youth ministers that have had way too much caffeine. People who are vibrant, effervescent and breathe life. We’re positive all the time, whether it’s a girl or boy.”
Yes I Can has basketball camps for girls only, for boys only and for co-ed campers. They offer full and half-day options and at locations all over.
McGovern says he often is asked whether his camp is faith-based.
It’s not, he says, although while he has the kids’ attention, there is nothing wrong with sharing powerful, spiritual and uplifting messages with his campers.
“One of the tenants of our program is to give a steady diet of motivational messages,” he said. “Sometimes kids need to hear those kinds of messages from somebody else. I think it’s good to camp if they hear positive messages.”
No matter what people are looking for out of a basketball camp, Yes I Can will deliver and cater to any needs. After all, listening is what has helped the camp thrive into what it has become today.
“We wanted to put together a menu that parents can look at and say, ‘Yes, that is what we’re looking for right there,’” McGovern said. “And we’ve been able to do that by listening to what people want, keeping it the size it is and hiring good people.”
Want to register?
Yes I Can has 15 unique summer camps that run July 10 through Aug. 23. There are boys only, girls only and co-ed offerings and are designed for children ages 5 to 14. In addition, spring leagues and instructional sessions are filling up fast. For more information on any of those options, visit www.yesi canbasketball.com/, call 704-442-1238 or email marcus@yesicanbas ketball.com.