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Since last summer we’ve been running the Compass Community Basketball Group, and it’s still growing. We have a pool of around 50 high school guys that drop in to play. We run 2 nights a week using Compass Church Gym and sometimes YFC too. It’s great to see some of our guys go on to represent their schools, and we’re proud to have one of the highest ranked players in London, working out with us every week. During March break we had 5 of our basketballers volunteer at the YFC March Break Camp, it’s amazing to see these guys stepping up and starting to volunteer and help kids younger than them. They seem to want to give back, what they have been given. Also, this then gives me an even further opportunity to mentor and “coach” values and character to them. Just this last Friday we took a group of guys to watch the Toronto Raptors play the OKC Thunder, turned out to be the best game of the entire NBA season. To see a few of their Facebook statuses saying “best day of my life…” after getting back to London, makes running trips like that worth it. Each week we get to know these young men better, and are getting opportunities to engage with them and their families. Sport is an amazing tool to build trust, especially with young men who don’t often open up to anyone. This year I also managed to help coach the Princess Elizabeth Grade 8 Basketball Team, and for the first time in years, won the Gold Medal in the entire Thames Valley. The exciting thing about working with these students is 80% of the team are coming to Laurier (where I am already involved) and I’ll already know them. The strategy of engaging youth at the Grade 7 & 8 level means that by the time they get to high school we have already established a relationship with them. We are looking to recruit some more volunteers in our sport program as we have a lot of students engaged each week.

Post Author: James Coolidge