More than two dozen Peoria boys and girls hit the court Saturday, kicking off the 18th annual Julius De Loatche summer basketball camp. It's held in honor of De Loatche who was killed during a house fire in 1999.
Rev. James De Loatche, Julius's father, said, "To see these young boys and girls come out and share in the camp, and keep the memory of our son Julius alive...you know, that's what's so meaningful to us."
The camp is free of charge, aiming to give kids something productive to do in the summer.
Eric Cameron, the camp director, said, "These kids are really being lead in the wrong direction, and we're trying to give back to keep them off the streets and keep them out of trouble."
The athletes are taught both scripture and basketball technique, and are given a new backpack and school supplies when the camp is over in august. Though it's been 18 years since Julius passed, Reverend De Loatche says the driving force, love, is still as strong as ever. Especially when it comes to helping these kids. He and his wife say they are reminded of their love for their son through every kid they help at camp.
"We don't have our son, but there are other sons and daughters out there that we can help in the community. " said Rev. De Loatche "Julius has to be looking down from above, smiling and rejoicing at seeing what's all being done in his name."
Click here to register for the camp.