Mini basketball program goes to villages

Posted on Oct 27 2021

In this undated file photo, two children play at the Dandan Basketball Court. The Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation will bring the Mini Basketball Village Outreach Program to Dandan and nine other villages, starting next month. (Contributed Photo)

After the success of its summer camp, the Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation is bringing the sport to the heart of the community with the launching of a village outreach program next month.

The Mini Basketball Village Outreach Program dubbed as “Bola,” which means ball in Chamorro, will initially cover 10 villages on Saipan and will also be offered in other villages and on Tinian and Rota.

“The NMIBF and FIBA Oceania are pleased to announce the formal launching of Bola, as we reach out to our villages, teach our children skills and values on and off the court, and engage them in activities that promote health and wellness,” NMIBF president James Lee said.

The NMIBF first implemented FIBA mini basketball program in August when it partnered with the Tan Siu Lin Foundation for a summer camp. The program had a good turnout, but the NMIBF learned that more children were interested to join, but could not go to the venue because of transportation concerns.

“So this time, we are coming to them, bringing basketball to our children, in their respective villages,” Lee said.

Through “Bola,” children who are 12 years old and below will learn fundamentals of basketball in a fun and interactive setting. NMIBF officials and members of the NMI National Team Program, through the guidance of FIBA Oceania, will conduct the sessions. The first stop of “Bola” is at Koblerville Basketball Court on Nov. 6 (from 4pm to 6pm) and the session is open to Koblerville and San Antonio residents. The remaining schedule are as follows: Nov. 7 at Garapan Basketball Court; Nov. 13 at Civic Center Basketball Court for Susupe residents; Nov. 14 at Kagman Community Center; Nov. 20 at Chinatown Court; Dec. 4 at Dandan Basketbal Court for Dandan and San Vicente residents; and Dec. 5 at As Matuis Basketball Court for Tanapag and San Roque residents. Registration for the program is free and can be made by sending email to Registration and waiver forms will also be available at the offices of various government agencies and the NMIBF Facebook page.

“If your village is not on the list, don’t worry, we will come to you, as this will be an continues program. We will cover all three islands,” NMIBF vice president David John Apatang said.

The NMIBF has been reaching out to different public and private agencies to help the federation conduct the program. The group is also encouraging parents, community leaders, and other interested individuals to join the session and observe the event, as the program will cover coaches education and recruitment, too.

“We want to identify and develop coaches that will run the program, with the assistance of the NMIBF, on a regular basis within their respective villages. Eventually, this program will be owned by each village, they will form their own team in different age groups and compete with other villages, thus reviving the once popular inter-village basketball league where the household names in CNMI basketball came,” Lee said.

The NMIBF will announce more information about “Bola” and its culmination event as the program progresses. For updates, check the NMIBF at (PR)

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