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In 1999 Coach Sam Nichols started Basketball Smiles as the only coach to 85 campers.

To date more than 12,000 boys and girls have gone through our program.

Basketball Smiles is a non-profit organization that conducts FREE basketball camps and life-skills programs for Junior High and High School aged children in the poorest, most at-risk areas of The Bahamas.

Our programs are designed to develop leadership qualities and raise the children’s academic expectations and self-esteem. Basketball Smiles encourages the children to be active, conscientious citizens through activities that help them become competent

  • Socially

  • Morally

  • Emotionally

  • Physically

  • Cognitive

With the basketball court as a laboratory, we encourage campers to set goals, cultivate self-discipline and choose lifestyles that do not include drugs and violence. Campers are rewarded for good choices and they are exposed to an environment that fosters mutual respect and personal responsibility.

The first thing we tell them is to pick up and dispose of any trash they see. They quickly assume the responsibility. It’s the beginning of a new way of living for these boys and girls.

Hope For A Future

Basketball Smiles Helping Kids

No child ever pays at Basketball Smiles. Our campers receive a daily nutritious meal, camp shirt, basketball, and school backpack with supplies. With the basketball court as our classroom, we encourage campers to set goals, cultivate self-discipline and choose lifestyles that do not include drugs and violence.

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In 2014 we established the Basketball Smiles Summer Academic Tutorial Program in conjunction with Bahamian teachers and administration. Each year over a $1,000 of funds raised go towards school supplies in inner-city neighborhoods where students can't afford basic supplies such as paper, crayons, glue sticks, and pens. Learn More...

Basketball Smiles Donate Now

Basketball Smiles is a 501(c)3 non-profit and your contribution is tax deductible. Since 1999 our initiatives have brought smiles and hope to more than 12,000 Bahamian children who live in neighborhoods where 20% of all homes have no running water or electricity. Every dollar makes a difference and we carefully steward your gifts. Give Today...

Basketball Smiles Sponsorship Opportunities

Our Sponsors play a pivotal role in the successes of our camp. There aren’t enough words to express the gratitude that shines from the faces of our campers. campers. Sponsorship packages available on every level and we would like to talk with you about how your organization can be part of our 25th Year Anniversary.

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Coach Sam Nichols had just finished his acceptance speech after being inducted into the Hall of Fame 600 Victory Club at the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association meeting in San Jose, California, in 1999. He stepped outside of the meeting hall.


It was raining and he popped open his umbrella. Coach Patty Johnson, from H.O. Nash Junior High School in Nassau, The Bahamas, asked if she could share the umbrella with Coach Sam and he made a place for her. Coach Patty told him how much she had enjoyed his acceptance speech.

“I wish you could come to my country and do a coaches’ clinic and a camp for kids,” said Coach Patty.

“I do camps all over the world,” replied Coach Sam.

“No, my kids are in the worst, the poorest, most dangerous place in The Bahamas,” she said.

He knew at that point that he was going. "I'll come," he told Coach Patty.

“No, you don’t understand. It’s the worst, the poorest, most dangerous area. Nobody cares about my kids,” she said, “and I can’t pay you anything.”

“No,” Coach Sam said, “you don’t understand. I said I’d come. Let’s go plan how we’re going to do this.”

That was the beginning of Basketball Smiles.

Coach Patty Johnson and Coach Sam Nichols

It Started with an Umbrella...

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