Phase 1, The Stony Plain Central Years 1983 - 1985
The camp had its genesis at Stony Plain Central School under the
coaching of Shalogne Kosakovich, a then Panda’s player who presently
teaches at Jasper Place High School, and Dave Cunney, a former referee
and teacher at Stony Plain Central School. That year there were eight
In its second year Shalogne returned to coach together with Gerry Cousins and once again SPC hosted the camp.
In the third year Gerry Cousins returned and brought along Dave Youngs as an up and coming new coach.
Phase 2, The Memorial Years 1986 - 2007
In 1986 the camp had to move to Memorial Composite High School and
for the next two years Gerry Cousins and Dave Youngs continued coaching
In 1988 Neil Ogelstone(teacher and basketball coach at Memorial) became the camp director and Dave Youngs became the head coach.
During this time the camp became known as the Memorial Basketball
Camp and as its popularity grew more gym space was required to
accommodate the growing demand for skill development.
Also, during this time the camp was organized into its present
format of INTORDUCTORY LEVEL (Grade 2-4), JUNIOR LEVEL (Grade 4-7),
INTERMEDIATE LEVEL (Grade 6-8), SENIOR LEVEL (Grade 8-9) and ADVANCED
LEVE (Grade 10-12).
Phase 3, The Rockets 2008 - Present
Summer Camp '07 was Neil Ogelstone’s last year as camp director.
He turned the directorship over to Roc Weigl and Stony Plain
Baptist Church. That being the case, there was no longer a staff
member of Memorial as part of the camp, so they were told it could not
be called the Memorial Camp anymore. So began the "Rockets."
For these four years, Roc got his feet under him organizing the
summer basketball camp. Roc, along with good friend and fellow
coach Tony Cherfan, saw the growing interest in basketball in this
community and began to expand the program to Fall skills camps, Spring
skills camps, Spring League teams and hosting the Rim Rocker
Tournaments! Up to this point, due to the fact that Neil
Oglestone was the director of the camp (a teacher and coach at
Memorial), the gym usage was free
in order to give the kids in this community the best chance of
attending a great camp for little money! Neil did a fantastic job
of growing the basketball program!
In 2010, with the change of
directorship fairly new, other changes began to happen with the camp
and the Parkland School Division. This was the first year that
the camp was required to pay for the gym usage for Memorial's 2 gyms,
High Park and Stony Plain Central school. This was somewhat
discouraging, but Roc did not want to have to cancel the camp because
of it. He had to increase the camp fee to $225 in order to pay
for the approximately $1400 per gym for the week. As much of an
inconvenience that this was, they made due and made sure the camp was
able to continue.
In 2011, Roc decided that it was time
for a younger generation to start taking over the Rockets, and
therefore started to get his son Rocky involved in a greater capacity,
with the intention of him taking over all duties at some point.
While Rocky was learning the ropes, gym space was becoming harder
and harder to come by in the summer.
In the summer of
2012 Memorial began a summer school Phys Ed class that took place
during the same week as the camp. Therefore this was the first
summer that we were not able to use both of Memorial's gyms for the
camp. We were still able to run the camp, but it became very
spread out among gyms in the community and more difficult to keep
together with the same feel it used to have. The camp was still a
great success, other than the fact that the Intro camp had to be
cancelled for the first time in years due to a lack of interest by the
youngsters. This being Rocky's first year running the camp, he
had to cancel the use of Stony Plain Central gym at the last minute.
He made this known to the Parkland School Division and they
seemed to understand with no big deal made of the cancellation.
2013 came with many new challenges. Roc went through the same
process applications for summer gyms while Rocky was in BC for three
months. He handed the forms in personally. When Rocky came
back in April, he was waiting to hear back from the applications that
Roc handed in to the Parkland School Division. As the year before
he did not hear until late May which gyms would be available for use,
he was not worried. Early in May he wanted to touch base with PSD
to see if things were going to work out. He went in to the office
to inquire and was met with rude hostility. To this day he has no
idea what the reason was for the rudeness. When he inquired
further he was told that Roc had never dropped the forms off and a few
days later found out they would not have access to any gyms for the
summer camp in 2013. Rocky simply asked why and wondered what had
changed in the past couple years to turn the Parkland School Division
against the camp. He was not phased, yet scrambled to find a
space for the camp to take place. The TriLeisure Centre in Spruce
Grove had the exact timeframe open on the North Field that would be
good enough for 2 of the groups, along with half the gym for the Intro
Camp! Along with the generosity of Living Waters and St.
Matthews, the camp still had a place to work in this community!
While the camp was going on, Rocky was told by friends that the
High Park gym sat empty for the entire week, with the custodians there
working for the whole week. Whatever the reason for denying
access to gym usage, it had nothing to do with the gym being busy or
custodians being unable to work. No reasons were actually ever
given as to why the denial. All we can do is not get discouraged
and keep trying to give the kids of this community a chance to play
Summer 2014 has the same feel as 2013. The
letter has been sent to Serge Labrie of Parkland School Division
requesting use of a couple gyms, but he has yet to reply and we expect
nothing once again. The future of the "Rockets" skills camp is
uncertain, but year by year we will continue to give kids the
opportunity to learn, play and be part of a team in the sport of