HORSE CAVE — Youth summer camps may be standard occurrences for many prep programs, but what's happening this week at Caverna High School is important for a coach and team looking to build stability and tradition.
Just the fact that Caverna coach Josh Davis is entering his second season with the Colonels is significant. When he was hired last August, he became the Colonels fourth basketball coach in as many years.
With the coaching carousel constantly turning, it had been several years since Caverna hosted a youth basketball camp. That changed this week when Caverna welcomed area kids in kindergarten through the eighth grade for a four-day camp complete with instruction, skills-training and scrimmages.
The camp, which concludes Thursday, is open to boys and girls, and Davis hopes it will be a foundation for more community involvement in the Caverna program.
"When I got hired, one of my first priorities was to have a youth camp here, because it had been a while," he said Wednesday, emphasizing the importance of teaching kids about the game at an early age.
"If you don't get to them early, it's hard to get them involved later."
More than 40 kids are attending the camp this week, and not just future Caverna Colonels. Many of the camp-goers are from other communities, including Glasgow and Munfordville. But while every attendee won't end up at Caverna, Davis said the camp gives him a chance to teach what he hopes will be some of his future players.
Hearing a coach commit to Caverna for Devon Paul is almost like listening to someone speak a foreign language.
Paul, who graduated from Caverna this year after averaging 14.4 points per game his senior season, is among the former and current Colonels' players helping Davis with the camp.
"I've always just loved helping with the kids, especially the ones that want to get better," Paul said.
For kids and their families to familiarize themselves with the Caverna program at an early age, and for the coaches to build a rapport with their future players, is one of the benefits of holding a camp, he said.
"It helps us build trust with them," Paul said. "It's going to help out in the long run for Caverna in general."
And having Davis back, even though it's only his second season, builds trust between current players and the coaching staff, Paul said.
He recalled feeling almost heartbroken the first time a coach left Caverna while he was playing for the school. By the time he was an upperclassman, Paul said he was unfortunately accustomed to the turnover.
"I had a new coach every year," he said.
Caverna posted a 12-18 record last season, and advanced to the Region 5 tournament after reaching the District 18 tournament championship game. The Colonels played well down the stretch, winning five of their last seven games before entering postseason play.
With his second season on the horizon, Davis said consistency in the program is one of the main objectives.
"We're trying to turn some trends around and get them going in the right direction," he said.