Like many business owners, Mimi Sommers was hurt by the pandemic. She and her husband opened the DreamTeam Academy youth basketball program in Scottsdale Airpark back in 2017 after their son showed an interest in the sport. After three years in business, they were finally turning a profit. But then COVID hit. Sommers ran private training sessions for nine months before she closed the Airpark facility on Dec. 1. She also put out the word that she was searching for a new space. About two weeks after she closed, she got a call from the AZ Kings Volleyball Club asking if she wanted to share space with them at the “pyramid” building on Shea Boulevard.
“I took it as a big sign,” says Sommers, founder of DreamTeam Academy and Apex Sports Camps, and the co-founder of Peak Basketball.
Sommers had driven by the building for years and always wondered what it was. Constructed in 1968, the building is a former church. When she and her husband toured, the building still had a pulpit and pews. But, the couple saw potential. In addition to having a ministry, the former landlord also was an NFL player.
“The energy here was just so spectacular that I looked at my husband and said, ‘I really think we can we can make something out of this as long as we get a full court out of it. I think this is doable,’” says Sommers of the DreamTeam’s new home. “I joke about that it was ‘divine timing.’ Here we are in a church.”
So the couple got to work on transforming the space into a climate-controlled, 22,000-square-foot sports facility.
APEX offers instruction primarily in basketball. After-school programs are offered Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m. for kids ages 6 to 11. Kids can enjoy a snack, have homework coaching, socialize with other kids, play board games, and participate in one-hour basketball drills twice a week.
During the summer or over school breaks, APEX also offers multi-sports camps including basketball, volleyball, badminton, pickleball, dodgeball, NERF football, Wiffle ball, indoor soccer, and even chess for boys and girls ages 6 to 14. And, there’s a game room where kids play Xbox, color, or sing.
As far as instruction goes, all the coaches are professional, semi-professional, or college athletes at division one or two colleges. They all undergo background checks.
“We really have great leadership,” Sommers says.
Year-round kids can participate in club basketball and in afternoon group skills building, Peak All Stars, where they can practice and prepare to try out for a club team.
Although kids at APEX are spending their time learning how to play a sport and then practicing it, they’re also developing skills that will serve them later on in life.
“We're really building friendships, memories, skills. We’re building confidence through sports,” Sommers says. “We have a code of conduct that we teach. We remind the kids to be kind and be respectful. We have a three strike rule. If they are really hard to manage, you know, through positive redirection or positive discipline, we have to let them go after three strikes, because it's just not fun to the other kids who are there. So we run this really tight ship.”
The building opened on June 7 and debuted its summer camp program.
Overall, APEX aims to be “a fun, safe place where kids can be kids and build their confidence and their skills on and off the court,” she says. “I feel so blessed to be able to give them the memories.” ApexSportsCamps.com