Written by Sureya Alex, Class of 2021
The Basketball Academy, the girls program in the Dominican Republic, collaborated with the Timothy Christian girls varsity basketball team to run a camp.
The girls team traveled to the Dominican Republic, with the help of GO Ministries. There they served local children and adults through camps, church, and much more.
Throughout this trip, the team did more than just play basketball. On their first day there, they helped paint a new medical center near their dorms. Later that day, they met other kids for the first time when they were introduced to their neighbors.
“Where we are staying, there are tons of houses crammed around us,” Olivia Schuringa, one of the team captains, says. “There is a neighbor that has many kids and we played with them in the rain.”
Their second encounter with children was the basketball camp. For many hours that day, the girls taught kids, ages 10-16, how to shoot, dribble, and expand their skills. Outside of the basketball training camp, the group also played a game against a local high school basketball team.
For the next couple of days, the girls hung out with many children, ages 2-18. On cement rooftops, 40-50 children grouped together to make pulseras (bracelets), do devotions, draw with chalk, and play games. “We just hung out with the kids and they always wanted to go on our backs,” Olivia says. “The little girls are patient and sweet. They love on us so much, they always want to hug.”
The children and the girls got to know each other, especially when the teammates told the young ones their stories: where they came from, what life is like back at home, and the environment that they are surrounded by.
The team is not only bonding with other children, but with one another, too. “We’ve had lots of time together, every hour, every day, we see each others’ habits, see what we struggle with,” explains Olivia. “We are going to be that much closer.”
This isn’t the first time an entire team has gone on a Renew Trip. It started about 5 years ago, when Mr. LeGrand took the boys varsity basketball team on their first trip to California.
“The trips are such a great bonding time,” Mr. LeGrand, the Athletic Director, remembers. “As the trip went on, basketball went down on the list, and the spiritual development of the players, and the team, outweighed everything else.”
On Sunday morning, the girls joined other locals for church. The entire service was spoken in Spanish, so the girls had the option to use radio translators. Some chose not to use them, and they explained how familiar the songs sounded.
“Even though we are worlds apart,” Olivia says, “and yes, it is so much different than us: no heat, no air conditioning, the church service is the same and they worship the same, sometimes even better, with so much passion.”
During this journey, the girls helped many people in the Dominican Republic. Not only did they help paint a new medical center, they played basketball with kids and adults. Most importantly, they got to share their faith. The girls grew spiritually and bonded together.
Sureya is a freshman, and loves basketball. She currently plays on the girls varsity team. She also has a huge interest in photography and journalism.