Friday, August 03, 2012

Seattle Storm's Katie Smith visits with kids at Salvation Army in White Center

Katie Smith, Olympic Gold Medalist, and the leading scorer in Women's professional basketball history (7580 points) who now plays for the WNBA Seattle Storm came to speak to kids at the White Center Salvation Army summer day camp.

By Patrick Robinson

July 31, 2012

Olympic Gold Medalist and professional basketball star with the WNBA Seattle Storm Katie Smith paid a visit to the White Center Salvation Army July 31 and spoke to more than 40 kids from The Salvation Army summer day camp program.

She came to sign autographs on pictures and basketballs and give the kids an opportunity to meet a professional athlete, ask questions, and get some inspiration, motivation and guidance from her positive messages.

Smith spoke about her diverse interests growing up, mentioning her 4H participation and urged kids to pursue many interests, "not just stuff you are good at," she said. She cited the fact that she was her high school's valedictorian because while she was skilled at sports she worked hard on her studies too. "School and learning opens up all the doors," she said, "Never stop learning."

Kids asked 'how hard is basketball practice?' and Smith acknowledged that "It's hard. It's intense. You want to win and you're trying to figure it out. That's what practice is. I'm tired at the end of the day. My legs hurt, and instead of putting an icepack on it, I sit in an ice bath."

Smith stayed and posed for photos with staff and kids and answered more questions.

Set up by Salvation Army Sports Director Sean Connors, the visit came about as the team was looking for participants to compete in their Youth Sports Night Pre-game Free Throw Contest coming up Aug. 16 before their game against Phoenix. A personal visit by Smith was offered, as a way for kids to get to meet and learn from a professional basketball player.

The contest before the game is part of a ticket package. For $20 players get a ticket to the game (family and friends can pay only $15), an Adidas Title IX T-Shirt, entry to the Challenge, and can win other prizes. Sign in begins at 12:30. The game is at 7pm at the Key Arena. If you'd like more information about the challenge or for tickets visit www.wnba/storm or contact Lauren Wilkins at 206-272-2552.

Smith, 38, who plays Guard with the Seattle Storm joined the team in 2011, after playing for the Minnesota Lynx (1999-2005), Detroit Shock (2006-2010), and Washington Mystics (2010-2011). She graduated from The Ohio State University in 1996, and began her professional career with the Columbus Quest (ABL). Her combined professional career with the ABL and WNBA makes her the all-time leading scorer in women’s professional basketball with a total (so far) of 7580 points scored.

The Salvation Army Summer Kids Camp in White Center is one of many kids programs, including after-school homework tutoring and computer labs, youth athletic leagues, music lessons for kids and teens, and an evening meal program.

At Day Camp throughout the summer, the kids participate in similar and more activities in a safe, encouraging environment. Families in White Center also participate in The Salvation Army rent/utility assistance program, food bank, and holiday assistance.

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