This week, the blog covers the first ever PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland (PPI-NI) Summer Basketball Camp. This signifies a big step towards developing a competitive edge to PPI-NI’s basketball program.
PPI-NI has always used basketball as a tool to promote diversity and tackle sectarian issues that linger in some communities in Northern Ireland. It is used during our primary school ‘Twinning’ programs, Junior Belfast Interface League (Jr. B.I.L.) programs, and really anywhere else that we can fit it in! Basketball is seen as a neutral sport not affiliated with any community in Northern Ireland. It’s fun, the children love it, and it has a competitive aspect.
This past academic year, PPI-NI has seen the biggest leap in developing a competitive edge to our basketball program. We had visits from the Yale Bulldogs and DePauw Tigers whose groups worked closely with our participants, and we also saw the creation of the PPI-NI U13 girls basketball team – the first cross-community basketball team entered into the Basketball Northern Ireland Junior Leagues. PPI-NI is proud to say we have taken another step towards cultivating the competitive edge to our program, and that is the creation of the first ever PPI-NI Summer Basketball Camp.
“Everyone completed the week as champions,” said Coach Megan. “The kids came together and did a great job working as a team. They loved the competitions every day. I was amazed that my team, who didn’t know each other at the start, left as friends after only a few days of playing competitive basketball.”
Coach Casey added, “It was awesome! It was incredible to see the level of enthusiasm everyone had to learn more about how to play basketball properly. The camp provided a space for the relationships that were fostered in our Twinning programs to continue to grow. For example, Martin and Carter, who are from different schools but were on the same twinning team, walked to and from camp together everyday. The four teams at camp didn’t complain about being on teams with people they didn’t know, and they ate lunch everyday with each other. The feeling of team spirit created throughout the week was great to see. It’s great that the people of Belfast are seeing what can be done through the sport of basketball. The PPI-NI Summer Basketball Camp is something that could grow to be huge.”
PPI-NI would like to thank the parents of the participants involved this week for their support and to Grosvenor Leisure Centre for providing the venue.