HARRISBURG -- While the Harrisburg All-Star Basketball program is all about improving players, that improvement isn't limited to fundamentals.
The program, in its 11th year at Dorrisville Baptist Church, aims to guide young people in a positive direction, according to program director Roth Clayton.
"First and foremost, we want to teach kids to act more like Jesus," Clayton said. "We want them to learn positive lessons, things that will develop their character. At the same time, we are helping them improve as players."
So, unlike many youth athletic programs, teams practice for one hour once a week in one of the church's two gymnasiums. Practice, whether basketball or volleyball, stops halfway through. Players gather around, and coaches teach a quick Bible lesson before practice resumes.
Monday night was the first night All-Star teams practiced. The ever-growing popularity of the church-based athletic program puts practice time at a premium.
Each year, All-Star has grown, Clayton said. In its first year, he said numbers were in the 170s. Now, the program is able to provide an athletic venue for kindergartners through high school seniors. There are 48 total teams and more than 60 coaches, he said.
And keeping All-Star running smoothly and efficiently isn't a one-man show, Clayton said.
"While there are a lot of people who help with All-Star, the two people I could not do without are T.A. Sullivan and Holly Clayton," he said.