Sports

PMBL/BREDS basketball camp impacting lives

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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It started out as a small event aimed at impacting the lives of children within the Treasure Beach region of St Elizabeth, but the Philadelphia Men's Basketball League (PMBL)/BREDS basketball camp has since grown beyond its borders.

Now BREDS Treasure Beach Foundation, organisers of the camp, is hoping to ride the wind beneath their wings to leave an even more indelible mark on the lives of young Jamaicans.

That wave of optimism follows another successful staging of the camp, which attracted the largest turnout in its history at the recently concluded seventh edition at BREDS Treasure Beach Sports Park.

This year's edition of the five-day camp, which was initiated by American-based Jake Kind in partnership with BREDS, hosted over 1,000 campers between ages six to early 20s, from different parts of Jamaica.

In fact, 15 youngsters from inner-city communities of Kingston were sponsored transportation and accommodation by American Friends to Jamaica (AFJ) to make the trip to the camp where they grasped lessons on the ideas and fundamentals of basketball, as well as leadership and teamwork.

With many having never played basketball before, the camp represented an incredible opportunity to spend time with 50 high-level coaches, 45 of whom were overseas-based, with the five locals being previous campers, who have since grown through the ranks.

Anneke Brown, sales and marketing manager of Jakes Hotel, welcomed the tremendous growth of the camp, which initially started with 20 coaches and 250 campers.

“Seven years ago, Jake Kind, who had a league in Philadelphia, wanted to do some outreach and he was introduced to Jason Henzel, chairman of BREDS Treasure Beach Foundation through a mutual friend and from there the camp came to life.

“It is basically the greatest partnership that BREDS has cultivated and the main goal and vision was to impact the youth of Treasure Beach, but we are very pleased with the growth and the impact it has on the youth of wider Jamaica. We see the increase in their self-esteem and their peer-to-peer relationship and the general respect for each other at the camp,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer.

Brown pointed to the coaches' passion for basketball and support for social change as another motivating component as they raised US$70,000 for this year's camp to provide campers, some of whom are from broken families, with equipment, particularly new footwear for the 1,000 participants.

That, Brown said, is just one of the many take-aways that make the camp a rewarding experience for coaches and campers alike, also adding impetus to their #OneteamOnedream motto.

“The camp has grown bigger and better and through the donations from the camp, we were able to restart the carpentry programme by donating woodwork equipment to Newell High School, and we were also able to expand their marching band by donating equipment,” Brown reasoned.

She added: “We were also able to start a music programme at the Sandy Bank Primary school in Treasure Beach, also through donations of music equipment. So this camp has offered a lot in donations to the area.

“There was a fund-raiser earlier this year in Philadelphia and for the first time BREDS chairman Jason Henzel attended and Jakes Hotel donated by auctioning a few nights at one of our luxury villas.”

Looking ahead, Brown revealed that they will be targeting other community initiatives that will have a more far-reaching impact.

“This time next year we would have started or hope to start our partnership between BREDS Treasure Beach Foundation and Heart Trust/NTA, to deliver skills training in food and beverage, community tours, in ground keeping and horticulture that would be at the Treasure Beach Sports Park,” she noted.


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