Bronson Skills Camp Brings Experience and History to Ho-Chunk Nation Community

By Ardith Van Riper

     Bronson Koenig taught a Basketball Skills Camp on April 6 and 7 at the District 1 Community Center near Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  Students in grades 3-7 participated on Saturday, and students in grades 8-12 practiced on Sunday. 

     Bronson is a former Wisconsin Badger and was a point guard from 2013-2017. 

     The Good Life Program in the Ho-Chunk Nation Education Department sponsored the basketball camp.  Mandy Youngthunder, Student Services Specialist, heard that Bronson was interested in hosting a camp with Ho-Chunk youth, and she reached out to him right away to plan the event.  Bronson had hosted other basketball camps before and was really excited to provide that opportunity to his tribal community. 

     The Education Department staffed the event, and Bronson brought a team of assistant coaches to work with the youth.  The assistant coaches for the weekend were Cody Greendeer Sr., Dustin Funmaker, Greg Bird, and Ryan Crain Sr.  Each day started with drills, and nearing the end of camp, students played mini-games. 

     At the end of camp, Bronson shared his experience growing up, playing high school and college basketball, playing in the NBA, and living after basketball.  He touched on complex subjects such as struggling with finding his identity, intergenerational trauma, substance abuse, mental health, and healthy coping mechanisms.  It was important for Bronson to share his story to help others overcome barriers and lead fulfilling lives.