The Division of Sports and Athletics, alongside non-profit organization Positive Growth held another installment of its series of basketball clinic in St. Croix on Saturday, September 8, 2018.
The clinic targeted boys and girls in elementary and junior high school to learn about the fundamental of basketball from local talent. The cohort of trainees were placed in groups based on their performance and skill level.
The beginners’ level saw approximately fifteen students who learned and practiced the basics of basketball to include, dribbling, passing, shooting and layups. The advanced group of students were able to hone in on their ball handling and dribbling skills, footwork and body control, defense and offense. Clinic participants also learned through demonstration what the violations are in the sport.
For the second time, John H. Woodson Junior High School eighth-grader Sapphire Cruz has participated in the clinic and says it helps sharpen her skills.
“I liked the clinic. They really push you to be a better player,” said Cruz. “I’m working on my ball handling with my left hand. It’s hard but they teach me ways to make it easier.
Raheem Smith, the founder of Positive Growth said that the clinic was born out of a need to give back to the community through sports. “Sports are big in the Virgin Islands. For most people, being involved in sports is how they stay out of trouble, said Smith.
In talking about how and why the organization was created, Smith referenced the need for additional programs for the youth. “I just called up a couple of guys who I know to and they agreed that we have to do something for the kids—especially those who aren’t the A-students in school.” The group planned for over a year and finally decided to take action in the summer of 2018.
Smith also said Positive Growth is not only about basketball. The new nonprofit will cater to all sports played locally, and collaborate with the key athletes to ensure top quality training. In addition to sporting events and training, Smith and his Positive Growth team is partnering with both the St. Croix and St. Thomas – St. John districts to adopt classrooms to ensure teachers and students have what they need to be successful.
“Academics will always remain the first priority so we are planning to partner with the Department of Education and get into the schools, continued Smith. “We want when the kids show up to our clinics and tournaments, they can also see us support them in the classrooms.”
Although Positive Growth is new, their presence is seen and felt throughout the local athletic community.
“We’re just getting started. We want our students to be recognized on and off the court/field,” said Smith.
Following the clinic, Positive Growth held a men’s basketball tournament featuring some of the island’s most talented basketball players. The inaugural basketball clinic and tournament was held in June. Positive Growth is based out of St. Thomas, however, clinics, tournaments and community initiatives are executed on all islands.