07 March 2011
BOTSWANA : G-west youth embrace basketball
Youth and residents of Gaborone West were on Saturday treated to a humdinger family fun day event by the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) and Thomas and Thomas Junior (T-n-T Jr.)
International Sports at the Mmamasire Youth Centre as they received honours for their dedication and hard work in a basketball life-skills camp they excelled in, in December last year. A total of 14 youth out of the 89 who attended the holiday camp were awarded prizes for their efforts during the camp. According to founder and Executive Director of T-n-T Jr. Thomas Raglin, the aim of the holiday camp was to impart basketball and life skills to underprivileged children in G-West as a way of keeping them away from social ills and helping them make a living out of sport. The camp attracted youth aged between 8-31 years. "It is not all about playing basketball. We also want to teach these kids survival skills in life and help them grow to become good, responsible citizens, all through the game of basketball," Raglin said. He said they want more people to come on board and get involved, especially the parents as they were still lagging behind in supporting their children in the initiative.
T-n-T Jr. International Sports is a non-profit making organisation dedicated to serving the underprivileged youth and communities through sports, especially Basketball. Raglin started the organisation when he first came to Botswana in October last year. The December camp was the first camp to be staged locally and there are plans to spread the initiatives to other parts of the city and country in future. "We want to spread this initiative. In the next few weeks, we will be going to the Tsholofelo area and if we get enough resources, we want to make it a countrywide initiative," said Mothusi Phokoje, another pioneer of the project. For continuity's sake on the initiative, there are regular training sessions conducted by players and officials from BBA at the National Youth Centre (NYC) courts every Friday, Saturdays and Sunday mornings. The two added that they are still looking for sponsors to come on board as well because they can only survive and continue through donations from the business community. The US-born Raglin told Sport Monitor that he has some long-term goals to see basketball in Botswana turn professional.
"I have connections in the US and I want to see one of these [children] getting education on a full basketball scholarship there. I know it is possible; in the long term I want to see at least one professional basketball team in the country," he said. He said he was overly impressed with the outcome of the inaugural camp. Over 150 youth have been trained under the initiative since its inception four months back. Raglin, who hails from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania has a Degree in Adolescent Psychology and has over 15 years of community service experience and 25 years of organised basketball experience. He has played college basketball and once played at semi-professional level. In Botswana, he is also coaching league champions Troopers and has been roped in to coach the University of Botswana (UB) basketball team for the Inter-varsity Games next month.