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Hamm, Lansanah giving back to Harrisburg's youth
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Growing up as youngsters in Harrisburg, Lawrence Hamm and Danny Lansanah didn’t have much faith in many of the older athletes. The ones who were fortunate enough to reach the next level, whether it was the collegiate or professional ranks, rarely came back to give back to the community.

Now adults, who were blessed with opportunities in pro sports, both Hamm and Lansanah are doing their part by serving as true role models for the youth of Harrisburg.

They recently held their second annual free camps — Hamm’s Basketball Camp at Harrisburg High School gymnasium and Lansanah’s Rising Starz Football Camp at Severance Field — that provided lessons about sports and life. Hamm’s camp ran for two weeks (July 12-16 and July 19-23), and Lansanah’s camp was held last Saturday.

The camps provided by Hamm and Lansanah taught the youth about work ethic, education and doing things the correct way. It was a learning environment with role models showing them a different route of achieving goals.

The camps focused on basketball and football skills, while incorporating the importance of proper communication, wellness, teamwork, and self confidence. Also, the camps had many athletes come in to assist and speak to the youngsters about how sports opens the door of opportunity in life.

Campers huddle in preparation to make their final plays in the 2014 Hamm Camp playoff games.
Danny Lansanah talking to the campers

“I guess my first thought about starting up my camp came from the fact that a few guys, when I was younger, didn’t give back during a time when I was searching for positive role models,” Hamm said. “As I got older, I thought about how I could help out, and be the guy that kids look up to.”

Lansanah recalled how there wasn’t much going on as far as activities for the youth back then.

“I never had an opportunity to go to camps when I was growing up,” he said. “Guys who made it [to the next level] never gave back to the community for us. [When I got my chance] I wanted to help kids and be a role model.”

Hamm and Lansanah, who have been friends for years, were members of the 2002 Harrisburg PIAA Class AAAA championship basketball team. In the finals against Uniontown, Hamm took over the game by pouring in 27 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and blocking six shots.

“We rode to school together,” Lansanah said. “He’s my friend. He came to my camp and I came to his because we’re there for each other.”

Hamm took his exceptional hoop game to Towson University, while Lansanah, who excelled on the gridiron for the Cougars, went to Connecticut.

Campers huddle in preparation to make their final plays in the 2014 Hamm Camp playoff games.
Lawrence Hamm posing with a camper for a photo

Hamm took his exceptional hoop game to Towson University, while Lansanah, who excelled on the gridiron for the Cougars, went to Connecticut.

After averaging 15.6 points and 9.1 rebounds in college, the 6-foot-7 combo-forward decided to take his game to Europe where he’s preparing for his fifth season. He’s played for Holland (three teams), the Czech Republic and Finland (last year averaged 17.9 ppg and 9.9 boards).

“I had some people looking at me from the NBA, but I saw a direct and better response from the European league,” Hamm said. “In my years overseas I reached a certain level of success to help [kids]. Before putting together my first camp last year, my dad [the late Lawrence Hamm, Sr.] and I sat down and talked about teaching and helping basketball players, and to convey basketball ideas and life skills.”

After starring at linebacker at UConn, Lansanah was signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent two years ago. He played for Miami last year, and is now set to begin training camp with the UFL’s Hartford Colonials, coached by former Cleveland Browns coach Chris Palmer. The season begins Sept. 18 and runs eight weeks.

“This is a good situation for me because I’ll play and get some film on myself so NFL teams can see what I can do,” Lansanah said. “I’ve been through some tough times before, and I’ve come through it just fine.”

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