Story by Jan Osborn. Photos Courtesy of Camp Exposure.
Camp Exposure is a faith-based holistic youth development program centered around student-athletes. The program is dedicated to providing student-athletes with knowledge that helps them become successful leaders both inside, and outside of, the athletic environment. The foundation of Camp Exposure’s holistic approach is focused on personal identity and the understanding that their students are more than just athletes, and their identities are not contingent on athletic performances alone.
Camp Exposure founder, Tyler Patmon, is a community builder who focuses on vitalizing communities through real estate development, mentorship, and educational development. Tyler along with his wife ,Tiffany, are leading multiple projects to assist young boys and girls grow closer to God, whom they credit for the vision of Shine in Darkness and The Camp Exposure.
As a retired WNBA player, Tiffany Bias is no stranger to success. Tiffany grew up an athlete in high school, leading her basketball team to win a state championship, playing on the Kansas All-State Team for 3 years straight, and earning state titles in track. She then continued her basketball career by accepting a scholarship to play for the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls. Following an impressive four years at OSU, Bias was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury. With such an impressive and expansive background in her athletic career, Bias knows the importance of teamwork, especially among other women.
You played football at the University of Kansas and continued playing in the NFL. Did you always know that you wanted to be a professional football player?
Yes! It was a goal that I set for myself at a young age. I loved sports as I was competitive and naturally talented. I saw it as an opportunity to provide for my family, especially my late grandmother Marsha Young.
As a child, what influenced you to want to give back to your community?
It started with my grandmother, grandfather, and aunts. Their loving hearts in providing for me and taking me in as if I was their child at a very young age showed me the importance of community. I believe her heart rubbed off on me. I also always could tell God had blessed me with physical talent, which in our neighborhoods was something that stood out to people, so while I thought I knew the talent God had blessed me with, I always had a passion for helping those around me find their gifts and talents. I also struggled with my identity as a young kid and after going through that battle I want to help as many boys and girls as we can know their worth and value.
You are married to Tiffany Bias, a retired WNBA player. How did the two of you decide to start a nonprofit organization?
With both of us being former athletes, we first understood the importance of being a good steward of what God has blessed us with by giving back and helping others. We also understood the identity crisis not only athletes are going through but a large number of young boys and girls. We felt moved to help the youth discover their identity, and we understood this is what we are called to do as believers in Christ.
Tell us about Camp Exposure and the different programs that you offer through your organization?
Camp Exposure is a faith-based, holistic youth development program centered around helping student-athletes find their identity beyond sports. We genuinely want to help all youth discover their God-given gifts and develop them into a professional career. Our holistic approach focuses on our seven pillars: identity, mental health, spiritual health, nutrition, relationship skills, professional development, and financial literacy. Of course, our flagship program (Camp Exposure Football Camp) is how we started. We provide a camping experience for HS student-athletes to grow on the field in their technique and off-field as we bring in top executes to pour knowledge surrounding our seven pillars into them. As an organization, we are now expanding to a Mentorship Program, Youth Sports League, and our Bridge Program (which focuses on the pivotal time of transitioning from an athlete into the professional world). Our mentorship program consists of an eleven-month curriculum plan for our mentees, and with every youth sports event in our program, our athletes have to participate in a session on our curriculum before they participate in games. We are truly education-based and sports is how we make the connection. We believe these programs again bring that holistic approach as we look to provide support for the youth from as young as 4 to the time they transition out of sports.
You partnered with two of your Kansas Jayhawks teammates to help run the nonprofit. Can you tell us about Jeremiah Hatch and Lubbock Smith and how they became involved with Camp Exposure?
After starting my non-profit Shine in Darkness which has the same mission as Camp Exposure without the focus on student-athletes, Camp Exposure became more athlete-focused. With Camp Exposure Jeremiah has been there since the beginning. We had similar visions and with his heart for the community and the fact that he is a close friend of mine, approaching him and telling him the vision that I had for Camp Exposure was a no-brainer, and he was all on board. As we began to build out the camp, we started by bringing Lubbock in to speak on academic readiness for HS athletes preparing for college. As we continued to scale, Covid halted our camp in 2020, and in 2021 we were trying to decide if we would bring back the camp that year. With covid still being a hurdle, our first location denied us, and we were left thinking about how we could possibly resume the camp. Now Lubbock had moved back to Dallas and created a relationship with Vista Bank. As we talked about resuming the camp, Lubbock wanted to be more involved, and again it only made sense with him being a brother of ours and his passion for the community. As Lubbock became a part of the team, he brought his knowledge of financial donations and organization to help scale the camp. Lubbock and Vista Bank provided us with a connection to Highland Park to host the camp and donate to our cause, so we didn’t have to pay out of our pockets!
Camp Exposure is based on seven pillars. Tell us about the pillars and how they will help in the growth of those involved.
Our seven pillars are key to our organization. They all depend on each other when we talk about identity, mental health, spiritual health, nutrition, relationship skills, professional development, and financial literacy. It is hard to manage my finances healthily if my mental health is not proper, I can’t cultivate my relationships correctly if I don’t know my own identity, and I can’t operate at the highest level as a professional if my nutrition is not in order. Altogether, these pillars will help our youth and their families create a firm foundation and healthy image of themselves. We are providing the knowledge, resources, mentorship, and the enviroment. In the long run, it will create a dominoe effect where we can teach them how to have that foundation and provide for their families, and in return, they do the same for their communities and others.
Camp Exposure Football Camp is an elite 3-day invitational camp exposing high school football players to the knowledge needed to succeed in life. Can you tell us why this program is necessary and how one becomes a part of the program?
It is essential because, as athletes, we tend to put a sport on a pedestal, and our lives start to revolve around that sport. The problem is not the sport or the passion for pursuing a professional career; the problem is our identity becomes distorted because it becomes attached to this sport instead of understanding who we are beyond the sport. A lot of athletes get so wrapped up because they feel as if there is no other way for them to be successful in life. That’s what we are here for. We want to show these athletes first their value and worth outside of sports and all the gifts and talents God has blessed them with and how to develop them to become successful young men and women. We also get after it on the field! In a world where youth sports are on another level, we want to ensure we provide an enviroment where youth are being taught the correct technique needed to play the game and the opportunity to learn without someone expecting something in return. The camp is a platform for these young student-athletes to showcase their talents and against some of the best talent in the area.
What stories have most impacted you during your time working with Camp Exposure?
It’s been the simple ones. Just how appreciative some of the parents we have created relationships with are of the simple fact that there is a male role model that wants to put effort into the growth and development of their child. To see a smile on a kid’s face when you talk to them when no one else will. To hear a kid say, “that makes sense.” With our standard being so high, we can sometimes forget the importance of the small steps of just being in the midst of these children to give them hope.
What is your vision for the organization five years from today?
Five years from now, Camp Exposure will be transitioning into its own Academy. Our access will expand, and the knowledge and wisdom we want to give to our youth will become a part of their school curriculum. We also see Camp Exposure Camps expanding to multiple sports and cities to provide this vital knowledge to children nationwide.
What are your greatest needs for the organization, and how can a person get involved?
We need the right people on board to have the most significant impact on the youth. To bring the right people on board, we need funding. We want to create an environment at Camp Exposure where people are being hired to fulfill their purpose, and their salary allows them to do that without thinking about what other jobs they can pursue to provide for their families. As a non-profit, donations are crucial, and you can donate on our website at https://thecampexposure.com/donate_to_campexposure/.
We also need volunteers! We are always open to having great people pour into our youth and help us run this organization as we understand we can’t do this alone. You can sign up to volunteer within our organization at https://campexposure.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=63860