At a press conference Wednesday morning, Olivet Boys and Girls Club President and CEO Chris Winters announced that the organization is adding a new basketball program to its winter lineup. Seeking to serve over 100 children, the program will be open to all members of the Olivet Recreation and Reading Committee.
Offered to help children develop new skills, on and off the court, the program will echo the Jr. NBA / Jr. WNBA. The sessions are aimed at children aged 6 to 9 and 10 to 14, mixed, and will be held at Olivet’s premises in Oakbrook, on Fridays and Saturdays, from January to February.
According to Winters, in the past, basketball was generally a fast-paced game. Seeking to change this model, Winters refocused the organization to deliver better quality programs.
Students participating in the program will be eligible to participate in Olivet’s Recreational League in conjunction with the Reading Recreation Commission.
To help students develop their skills, Olivet has partnered with the five Berks County colleges to provide coaching support for each session.
“The fact that Alvernia, Albright, Kutztown, Penn State Berks are a part of this with us just shows their commitment to the children of Olivet and gives these children a chance to learn skills and work as a team.” said Winters.
“Most importantly, give these kids a chance to learn something that not only applies to the basketball court, but something that they can contribute to the community and use in their lives.”
For Winters, the program is not just about basketball, but also an effort to underscore Olivet’s commitment to providing quality community programming.
“Our children are delighted to play in the various Olivet’s clubs and we are grateful to maintain this working relationship” said Matt Lubas, supervisor of reading recreation.
Winters says the concept came from their affiliation with the National Boys and Girls Club. At a training conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Winters learned that other Boys and Girls clubs were successfully implementing the same model.
“What people don’t realize is that for people who aren’t on the high school, college or JV teams, there really aren’t any other league options to play in. for the city “ said Adonis Fleming, assistant recreation supervisor. “Our goal is to provide something for kids who don’t have this option that’s tailor-made for them. “
Looking to the future, Fleming hopes the program can unite the city’s youth. “The main objective is to allow children to play the game, to work on the fundamentals and to gain more confidence in themselves and in the game to take it to the next level. If they don’t and they just want to get to a safe place, we can provide that as well. “ Fleming said.