Frontier News
Photo by Bill Foley,
Photo by Bill Foley,
Frontier News - Tue, Aug. 8, 2017

BUTTE, Mont. – What began as a basketball camp and clinic for Butte area children has grown into an event that all of the women's basketball programs in the Frontier Conference have become involved in.

The Hoop for a Cause camp/clinic is set for Thursday, Aug. 10 at the Maroon Activity Center in Butte. The camp is open to boys and girls K-8. There is a $20 fee if preregistered and $25 at the door. There are three sessions; K-4th boys and girls, 8-10 a.m.; 5th-8th grade boys 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 5th throught 8th grade girls 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.


"We just want to fill the gym for those six hours and have some fun working together for a great cause," MSU-Northern head women's coach Chris Mouat said. " The cost is low, and every kid who attends will be walking away with some good things.  We are still taking donations for anyone who would like to contribute as a sponsor or send things for the silent auction.

Mouat and his All-American guard Natalee Faupel had made plans to return to Butte after her senior season and host a children's basketball camp. Faupel, a Butte native and Mouat with family ties to Butte and a former coach at Butte High, simply wanted to give back!

The camp idea was in the planning stages when Alex Thatcher died in a tragic accident this past spring. The focus of the camp was still helping Butte children but now the proceeds would go to a scholarship in Alex's name at Montana Tech. Alex played a year of volleyball at Tech and graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering. Alex's younger sister Hattie was a star player for the Oredigger women's team.

"After about a day or two of planning, this really took off," Mouat said. "I decided to contact other Frontier coaches to see if they could help out, and the response was overwhelming.  Everyone that can physically make it will be there, and even those that can't be there are sending items for the silent auction table.  I think it says a great deal about the coaches and people in our league.  No one even hesitated to jump on board when I called them, which was awesome.  I think it also says a lot about how much respect people have for Hattie, who we all competed against over the past four years."

"I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this camp held for Alex and the Thatcher family," Faupel said. "The Thatchers' have done a lot for me throughout my life and my basketball career. Hattie, who I consider one of my closest friends, has been a teammate, or rival, on the basketball court for over 13 years! Through Hattie, I met Chunky, Leah, and the six siblings, one of them being Alex.  As I got into high school, I got to know Alex better and shared the court with her for two years. Alex has always been and will continue to be a role model in me in academics, athletics, and the simplicity in which she carried herself."

All campers will enjoy a fun day of basketball complete with prizes and lunch donated by an area pizza parlor.

"The day will be a lot of fun and every participant will get a t-shirt (courtesy of Universal Athletic Service) and pizza (courtesy of CCCS) following their session," Mouat said. "I was also fortunate to share the idea with a good friend at Adidas, and he has sent me duffel bags and some other prizes for the kids. But in all honesty, one of my first calls for help was to Bill Himmelberg at Providence. He not only helped secure a nice cash donation from the Butte McDonald's, but also matched the donation from his own stores in Great Falls. That was a heck of a way to jumpstart the whole thing."

Players and coaches from the Frontier along with coaches and players from Butte Central and Butte High will serve as instructors.

"It is very heartwarming to see the Frontier Conference women's basketball coaches come together for this great cause," Frontier Conference commissioner Kent Paulson said. "A camp where young basketball campers are going to learn how to play the game correctly and to have some fun while improving their skills.  The proceeds will provide funds for a scholarship to honor Alex Thatcher who hailed from a great Butte basketball family. This is truly a classic example of our coaches exemplifying "Champions of Character" which is the cornerstone of NAIA athletics."

"The Alex Thatcher Memorial Scholarship is close to being endowed for life and our goal is to see that happen as a result of this camp," Mouat added "I think we are going to get it done because of all of the work people are putting in, and because of the incredible generosity shown by so many individuals and businesses. If we can pull it off, it will be a great statement by the coaches in our league who are all coming together for something special."

Registration forms are available at the Maroon Activity Center and silent auction items are still being accepted. For more information, call Mouat at 406.265.3584.

"It is special that the city of Butte allowed us to host this event and it has been amazing watching this camp come together," Faupel said. "We are so thankful for all of the contributions. It's going to be a great day and we are all looking forward to doing something for such a good cause."