It's getting to be that time of year when parents starting looking ahead to see what might be coming up for kids in the summer months that will keep them active and safe while school out of session.

For young ladies getting ready to enter grades three through eight one upcoming option is the Mexico girls basketball camp June 4-7. At a cost of just $20, athletes will get to fine-tune their fundamentals each evening from 3:30-5 p.m. at the middle school.

"Third through eight grade is a good age level to introduce or continue opportunities for young kids to participate in physical activities," said Mexico High School varsity girls basketball coach Ed Costley. "Giving them the chance to participate and learn new skills in summer will hopefully build a foundation for our kids to find an interest in the game as they progress through the grade levels in middle school. This also gives kids an opportunity to meet others they may start competing with."

The reason why Costley chose to have the camp at the middle school is that the majority of the attendees will most likely be in sixth through eighth grade. The facility is also one that's new enough and nice enough the varsity could schedule a game there if needed.

"We hope with a low cost we can give families a chance to send multiple kids and kids who like to do multiple sports don't have to choose one sport over another because cost. We want to keep the cost down and just hopefully break even by the time we purchase shirts," Costley said. "My staff has never got paid from this. Just a t-shirt and an occasional slush on the hot days. We use the money we make for high school summer shootouts for water/gatorade or to help pay entries for other summer dates."

The purpose for this clinic concluding at 5 p.m. is so that it doesn't interfere with the scheduling for individuals who play Mexico Optimist Softball or are part of a travel team. As for the start time, that was chosen based on the fact summer school ends at 3:30, meaning the students will already be present as opposed to needing transportation.

"Our focus is to give kids chances to have the ball in their hands as much as possible. If young kids can learn to improve on basic ballhandling, offensive skills at an early age the game becomes very easy for them," said Costley. "As you see a highly skilled player some would quickly assume the kid is just athletic, when in fact they are just comfortable on the court in various setting due to the confidence they have developed from their skill set."

One very specific offensive tool Costley is going to try and teach these athletes is footwork. The reasons for this are several fold and include it being the difference between getting the shot off before the defense can contest, being in position to attack the basket and gaining an advantage off the dribble.

"We want to focus on small sided games (two on two, three on three). That gives kids the opportunity to learn faster and be a part of the action," Costley said. "Compared to five on five, where some kids may not touch a ball for several possessions. Three on three is the basis of the game. You are seeing more colleges and National Olympic teams incorporate more three on three in the scope of their programs."

For a permission slip for this event parents can either call the high school or the middle school or email ecostley@mexico.k12.mo.us