GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Do you remember the first time you played a sport as a child? That feeling when you got to try for the first time? Harry Boyce remembers the first time he played basketball. It was at the Salvation Army on Velp. From that magical moment onward, basketball has been his salvation and his dream. It’s the dream he’s trying to give other young athletes in Green Bay with this new recreational facility out in Hobart.
“We’ve grown like crazy. We started with one team, 2 teams, 7 teams, 10 teams and now we’re at 16 teams. Right? In four years, five years, so, we’ve grown really fast and we needed more space,” Boyce said.
Boyce started and owns Team 1848 Grassroots youth basketball program. He’s wanted to have a team and open up a gym since he was a little boy.
“It means a lot. As a young kid growing up on the east side, an intercity kid, played at Green Bay East, graduated from Green Bay East, it means a lot because not a lot of people expect us, intercity kids to to things like this. Right?,” Boyce said.
“And then to have a pretty successful career at the collegiate level and then go on and play ten years professionally and then come back and do exactly what you said you were going to do as a young kid one day. Build a gym, start a program, you know what I mean? And try to give the kids the same opportunity that you had, coming up. It’s everything and truly a dream come true. I don’t even know what to say half the time.”
His coaches aren’t surprised this is the path in life he’s taken.
“I think it’s just, another, the facility is just another way of keeping kids out of the streets,” Green Bay East faculty member Richard Sims says. ” I think Harry has that instilled in his heart. for kids to bring them out of that situation and give them something to look forward to.”
Green Bay East head coach Rick Rosinski says Harry always had the drive as a competitor and is now turning that drive into helping other young athletes succeed.
“Giving back to these kids and talking about life in general, because of the struggles that he faced early on, ” Rosinski said. “That’s a tremendous trait to develop over time. I give him all the credit in the world for wanting to do this. The love of basketball, yeah, but also making young men into men.”
Boyce credits his mother’s influence into why he turned into the young man that he did.
“My mom was phenomenal. That’s really the biggest part, when I look back, she supported me through all of these things and not every body has a mother or parent like I had or a support group like I had, “Boyce said.
A dream he’s had since he was a little boy… finally a reality.
“My hope for this place is that for people who might not have that support group, that mother like I had, those people behind me, pushing me, saying ‘When you’re done with high school, you gotta get out of here,’ for those people who don’t have that, I hope to be that, my staff hopes to be that and I hope this place can be that for them,” Boyce said.
The facility should be ready to open as early as late April, early May.