Former BYU basketball star Travis Hansen continues to give back to the community as he hosts the fourth annual Travis Hansen Charity Basketball Camp this week.
Hansen, who played at BYU from 2000 – 2003, developed the charity basketball camp in an effort to teach young basketball players core values of service and sportsmanship. All proceeds from the camp strengthen the efforts of the Little Heroes Foundation, founded by Hansen and his wife, LaRee, to improve the lives of children.
“I’ve been to camps since I was six years old, and I just saw a niche that no one else was doing,” Hansen said. “The kids have the opportunity to compete, to have fun, to learn how to be a good teammate, to learn how to win and lose, and to learn how to be part of a team.”
The basketball camp, set to take place today through Friday at the Flash Factory in Lehi, provides basketball players ages 6-18 the opportunity to strengthen their basketball fundamentals, while understanding the importance of serving others. BYU basketball head coach Dave Rose will be featured at this year’s camp, along with former BYU basketball player Marty Haws and current BYU guard Charles Abouo. The camp focuses on helping young basketball players develop their dribbling and shooting skills through repetition.
The highlight of the camp is a service project the children participate in on the second day. Through the Little Heroes Foundation, Hansen has been able to build two schools in Mali, Africa, for children in need. Service projects at the basketball camps from past years included creating school kits and writing notes for the students at these schools, and preparing hygiene kits for less fortunate families locally in Spanish Fork. Annie Sundwall, director of development with the Little Heroes Foundation, plans the logistics for the camp and service project.
“The children that we’ve been able to reach through this service project and through all the projects that we do, they obviously all benefit children,” Sundwall said. “Our mission is to improve the lives of children around the world by seeking out and supporting worthy organizations and programs.”
Children at the camp this year will assemble welcome kits with crayons, activity books, Play-Doh and other items to benefit hospitalized children in Utah. The kits are designed to help children cope with their illnesses and keep them occupied during their stay at the hospital.
Hansen and his wife began the Little Heroes Foundation in Russia, while Hansen was playing professional basketball. The program has local and international connections and looks to help children wherever there is a need. Nature’s Sunshine Products is the primary sponsor for the Little Heroes Foundation and provides funds and gifts for the camp. Their partnership with the Little Heroes Foundation made it possible to renovate a children’s hospital in Russia.
“We truly enjoy working with Travis. He certainly has captured the essence of serving others,” said Eric Graves, director of International Marketing at Nature’s Sunshine. “We look at continuing this partnership for years to come. We’ve seen great benefits come through supporting the Little Heroes Foundation.”
The charity basketball camp marks the largest community fundraiser for the Little Heroes Foundation, which is headquartered in Provo. The foundation also solicits donations at conventions through Nature’s Sunshine and online at littleheroesfoundation.org.