Prairie View A&M University’s Sports Medicine Director, John “Doc” Mayes had a life-changing experience recently as he traveled to Okinawa, Japan to facilitate the Pacific Military College Week / Basketball Camp.
During the month of April, Mayes’ brainchild, the C.A.E.O.S. Project Foundation Inc., partnered with the Okinawa Basketball Association to facilitate an educational-sports camp for student-athletes attending the (DOD) Department of Defense Educational System, Pacific Region. Mayes was accompanied by several collegiate coaches from across the United States to Okinawa and was very pleased with the results of the inaugural event.
“It was a real good experience,” said Mayes. “They treated me like royalty and we had over 90 kids to participate in the camp. Some came from as far as Korea.”
Mayes became involved with the Pacific Project at the request of a couple of his former student trainers, who are now teaching in the Department of Defense Education System (DODES) in Japan and Korea. Mayes says, “One of them called me and asked if it was okay to give my number to the USMC Sports Commissioner, he wanted to talk to me about my foundation (C.A.E.O.S., Inc.) and after series of conversations, the C.A.E.O.S./Pacific Project was born. It wasn’t easy in the beginning trying to get enough funding for the venue, but I know what you receive is directly connected to how you believe.
“It shows you that giving doesn’t have to cost much. For a thirsty person, the gift of a cup of water is priceless,” added Mayes. “Once they understood that the C.A.E.O.S. Project’s mission was to promote sports participation as a means to acquire financial resources towards higher educational opportunities, everything fell into place. The primary goal of my trip was to promote higher education to student-athletes within the DOD Educational System and I think we were very successful at doing so.”
The Pacific Military Basketball Camp consisted of career guidance workshops, sport skills enhancement activities, athletic training, mentoring and educational shadowing for enlisted military men and women in uniform.
“This camp was a blessing as it gave me an opportunity to show support and appreciation to our soldiers and their families for their noble sacrifices towards maintaining our freedom and liberties. Many of us here in the United States take that for granted while others around the world never get a chance to enjoy it,” explained Mayes.
“Due to the expansion of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which includes the financial resources to assist our men and women in uniform and their families towards higher educational achievement, there are plenty of opportunities available for us to market what we offer here at Prairie View A&M. I would also like to give thanks to the University’s Recruiting Office, College of Education and Department of Athletics as information on our educational programs was disseminated to DOD High Schools across the Pacific region,” said Mayes.
Mayes intends to build on the success with a college fair in the Pacific region (Mainland Japan) during the month of October, in addition to planning events in South Korea and Europe.