Please help us pass the word!
Last Spring, while on family vacation in Turks & Caicos, I had a chance to play pickup basketball with local teenagers from Providenciales. Although there was a court at the resort where a lot of vacationers played, a man who worked there saw me dribbling and told me about nightly pickup games, where his nephew played, off site. After heading outside of resort property on my own, I discovered the public court he had described. The new guy at first, I quickly became just another player enjoying the game as the sun set in the background. It was an unforgettable experience as the kids ended up fully accepting me and invited me back night after night.
During that week, I was struck by the unifying force behind basketball and inspired to give back. Although the teenagers lacked nothing in the way of skill and knowledge, the court they played on was out-dated and posed safety risks. I took photos before I left, in hope that I could be part of improving the court for the kids who accepted me so whole-heartedly.
What happened next...
Back in Wisconsin, online research led me to Pastor Sweeting who had formed a youth basketball team and organized a league that played on that court. When I contacted her by phone, Pastor Sweeting was excited at the prospect of renovating the Bight Court for youth in the community.
Since then Pastor Sweeting and I have Skyped regularly to share our vision and our research on what renovations will cost. Pastor Sweeting got the go ahead for the project from the Minister of Parliament and Island Hoops Project got public charity status from the IRS so that donations are tax-deductible. I was most excited when Pastor Sweeting rounded up a group of teens, some of whom I played with when I was there, to join our conversation and help in this effort.
Once the renovations are completed, tournaments and other activities hosted at the Bight Court will provide funds for necessary maintenance, as well as opportunities for developing youth leadership and a positive basketball community.