BAR HARBOR — A former Trojan standout is set to help coach a group of future Trojans next month at the Future Trojans Basketball Camp at Mount Desert Island High School from July 10-14.
MDI High School Class of 2011 alumna Megan Phelps will return to her old stomping grounds along with boys’ varsity Head Coach Justin Norwood to guide elementary and middle school girls during an intensive weeklong camp.
Phelps, who recently was hired as the assistant coach of the Bowdoin College women’s basketball team, said helping out at the camp has been something she looks forward to every year.
“Every year since I graduated [from MDI High School], I’ve come back, and it’s one of my favorite weeks of the summer,” she said. “I love being a college basketball coach, but I am partial to the younger kids because there is something really special about having a kid come to camp and introducing them to the game and how fun it is and to see them get so excited when they shoot a layup.”
The camp is run by Acadian Youth Sports and headed up by Norwood. Current Trojans from the MDI High School basketball teams also will assist.
Players in grades 2-5 practice from 9-11 a.m. each day, while girls in grades 6-9 play from 2-5 p.m.
“This is an extension of our winter program that we did with high school kids but a little more in-depth,” said Norwood. “It’s always one of my favorite times in the summer, to see all the young kids and help them improve.”
The cost is $85 for the morning session and $115 for the afternoon session.
Phelps said that participating in similar basketball camps as a young player helped solidify her love for the game and her appreciation for those who helped get her to where she is today.
“It is good for me to remember why I coach and why I play, because a million years ago someone at Harbor House camp taught me how to sneak a layup and made it so fun for me,” she said.
As a beginner, Phelps said, she looked up to MDI High School players such as Bracey Barker, Shelley Gott and Chelsea Stratton. She remembered how they spoke with her and encouraged her game and vowed she would return the favor to young players.
“It’s important for me to give back, because I know how fortunate I was to grow up here on MDI,” Phelps said. “I can look back and see how lucky I was that there were so many people who care about your development and what you are going to do with your life.”
Phelps, who already has started recruiting for Bowdoin’s 2018 basketball season, is looking forward to coaching back at her alma mater this fall.
For the past two years, she has been assisting on the court at Regis College in Weston, Mass., where she also earned a master’s degree in communication. Phelps also filled in for a time as a sports reporter at the Mount Desert Islander.
“I got to play at Bowdoin, which was a great experience for me,” Phelps said. “I am a Mainer, and I am happy to be back in the state and hopefully give back to the place that did so much for me and hopefully win some more games as a Polar Bear.”
The coach said she loves teaching young players the fundamentals of the game that can be used both on and off the court.
“I am a big people person, and I love the connections you make and having a positive impact on many different people,” said Phelps. “I may be their coach for only one year, but I will always remember them because they were on my first team.
“I like helping someone get better at something that they love, and it’s not just about basketball skills. It’s about life skills. It’s teaching someone how to not get down on themselves whether it’s on the court or how to react to a setback in an office job.”