NEW BRITAIN - A New Britain business owner will host his non-profitâ€™s 22nd annual summer basketball league starting July 14.
Jerry Carter is the owner of Coach Carterâ€™s Apparel and the president of a non-profit organization called Vibe Athletics which promotes basketball leagues for young people.
Carter and Vibe Athletics have partnered with Klingberg Family Centers for the past three years, and the centers host the games.
This yearâ€™s basketball league goes from July 14 until September 1, and games will be coed.
The league has three divisions: the first division is for children from kindergarten to second grade.
The second division is for children in third to fifth grade, and the third division is for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.
Registration is encouraged but walk-ins are also welcomed. Children can be registered online at or at Coach Carters Apparel on Main St. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The first league started in 1996 at Washington Park with a total of eight teams and 150 children.
â€śOur primary focus is teaching young kids the basic fundamentals of basketball,â€ť Carter said.
Carter added that children can benefit from the program by learning discipline, teamwork, exercise, and the rules of basketball.
He said another benefit is that the program gets children out of the house to play.
Both inexperienced and experienced participants are welcome to be part of the program.
The first week will consist of drills, and the coaches will assess skill levels to balance out the teams.
â€śThatâ€™s my biggest challenge, making the teams as even as possible,â€ť Carter said.
The cost of the league is $60 per player. The money will go towards uniforms and referees.
Carter is looking for coaches to volunteer during this seasonâ€™s basketball games.
Mark Bielecki, of New Britain, has two daughters who have been part of the Vibe Athleticsâ€™ programs.
One of Bieleckiâ€™s daughters is in sixth grade, and she has been part of Vibe Athletics for four years.
Bieleckiâ€™s older child is in high school and she was part of the program when she was younger.
Both of Bieleckiâ€™s daughters play basketball for their school teams. Bielecki said Vibe Athletics is the reason his daughters have been successful in the sport.
In addition, Bielecki praised Carter for being a strong supporter of the cityâ€™s children and their involvement in sports.
Symone Robert also played on the league when she was younger.
She said that even though she only played for two years, the programs helped her build fundamentals that were essential for her as she got older.
The program also was her motivation for playing basketball in college from 2009 to 2013, she added.
Vibe Athletics has coached generations, which is one of Carterâ€™s rewards.
â€śThe best part about it is I have adults who played in my program, and now their kids are playing in my program, and some of those guys actually come back to coach now,â€ť Carter said. â€śGuys who used to play in my program are now coaching their kids in my program.â€ť
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079.