The University of Idaho Extension Program for the Nez Perce Tribe Reservation and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Reservation, supported by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, recently partnered with the nonprofit Rise Above to host a basketball clinic for more than 150 youth at Lapwai Elementary in Lapwai, Idaho.
The clinic, founded by Illinois State University women’s basketball legend Jaci McCormack, who grew up in Lapwai on the Nez Perce Reservation, inspires Indigenous youth to stay healthy and active while connecting them to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics related to basketball.
Participants received their own basketball and had the opportunity to meet Ruthie Bolton, two-time USA Olympics Gold Medal Winner, and Donald Watts, son of NBA star Slick Watts.
“The gymnasiums echoed the sounds of a hundred basketballs bouncing in and out of rhythm with the sounds of laughter, running feet and unbridled passion for the love of the game,” said Danielle Scott, University of Idaho Extension educator. “It was powerful, positive energy all around.”
At the end of the clinic, participants gathered for a meet and greet with Bolton. Scott recalled smiling parents standing alongside, waiting as their children ran to them, telling them how much fun they had and how they got to hold authentic Olympic Gold Medals.
Youth ages five to 13 participated in a basketball clinic hosted by Rise Above and the University of Idaho Extension Program for the Nez Perce Tribe Reservation and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Reservation. Image courtesy of the University of Idaho Extension.
In March, Extension held another event with the Rise Above Foundation where youth took a tour of the University of Idaho Kibbie Dome and new Idaho Central Credit Union Arena. The youth were able to meet some of the Vandal Men’s Basketball team and one of the Vandal Women’s Basketball team members. The next day, participants met the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Reservation youth at the Marimn Health Coeur Center in Worley, Idaho, for more basketball art activities consisting of designing their own jerseys and more basketball drills.
“The success of this event is related to the dedication and commitment of the volunteers who are local coaches, parents, educators and other individuals interested in basketball,” said Scott.
“This is a community that loves basketball. It is evident at all of the home games, away games and state tournaments, where nearly the whole community is present without fail.”
Scott added that the program is looking forward to future events to include travel to Seattle to visit the Microsoft campus to learn more about what they are doing with the engineering and technical side of sports. The trip also has the potential to include a Mariners game and more.