In 1986, Bexley City Council's Jed Morison looked for a way to teach his son fundamental basketball skills. Finding nothing for 5- to 7-year-olds, he started the Junior Dunkers program.

In 1986, Bexley City Council's Jed Morison looked for a way to teach his son fundamental basketball skills. Finding nothing for 5- to 7-year-olds, he started the Junior Dunkers program.

"To be candid, one of my kids was involved at the very beginning," he said. "From talking to families and friends, I thought it might be fun some noncompetitive (way) to teach fundamental basketball skills a program for young boys and girls."

So Morison sat down with then-recreation director John Barr and offered to establish the program. The 45-minute program is typically held in January. Morison describes it as a preliminary introduction to the game of basketball."

Morison had the chance to sit down and reflect on some of his participants over the years, many of whom have gone on to play basketball in high school or college. The list includes a professional baseball player and a heart surgeon.

"That is obviously not the result of the program," he said. "Kids have done very well with their lives. I'm proud to say that we have had the mayor's children, the president of city council's children and the city auditor's children."

Morison, who has served as the coach since its inception, works on basic skill development: offense, defense and dribbling. At the end of the session, students break into games and play a game.

When the program was started in the 1980s, participants used a gymnasium in Montrose that was much smaller than today's gym. In the 1990s, there was a major renovation and the new gym was built; participants played at Maryland for awhile.

"We came back to the new gym, which has been terrific," Morison said.

When the program was started, there was no charge. At some point, Morison decided to charge a nominal fee and donate the proceeds to the recreation department to help students who otherwise could not participate. The cost for the three-week program is $25.

Bexley recreation supervisor Barb Greiner said that by donating all the fees from Junior Dunkers to the Bexley Recreation Scholarship Fund, Morison continues his commitment to the welfare of children.

"He is the best when it comes to instructing and introducing children to basketball," Greiner said.

There has always been plenty of space in the program, Morison said, saying that if necessary, extra sessions are added to accommodate all kids interested in playing. Greiner said 18 to 20 children usually participate in the program.

Morison also stressed the importance of volunteerism .

"Bexley has a lot of people who volunteer their time to any number of things,' he said. "I've volunteered for the last 25 years. This is one of those situations where I get more out of it than the kids. I think it is a great thing we have such great volunteers supporting lots of different things in our community."