Not only do children ages 5-10 learn the fundamentals skills of the game of basketball, they are given the opportunity to develop good sportsmanship and leadership skills during the Hoops for Him basketball program at Gilead Friends Church.
The Hoops for Him basketball program has been an on-going ministry for the church for nearly 15 years.
“We desire for children to learn the game of basketball in a loving, affirming environment. Our program is designed to allow all children to play at a young age, exposing them to the game of basketball. We welcome all players, and because of the structure of our program, even players with mild disabilities or developmental delays are given the same opportunity to play,” commented program lead, Kyle Schock.
“Kids need positive encouragement as they develop and we stress this to our coaches. We want to be a positive influence on players, at the same time encouraging and influencing our coaches as well. That is what makes our basketball program a success.” Schock went on the say.
The program has over 300 participants this year, in addition to the 75 plus volunteers that coach, work behind the scenes and greet families on game day. Prior to every game a devotional and short video is shown to the players, sharing the gospel message.
Additionally, prayer is offered for the safety and positive sportsmanship for the game. Hoops for Him is a countywide program and no child is turned away if they cannot pay the minimal registration fee. No questions asked, participants pay as they can. As part of the church’s ministry they offer a “Give One, Send One” opportunity to members; they give (donate) one weekend of service to the program and send (sponsor) one student to play.
In 2016, Hoops for Him provided 32 scholarships for players needing assistance. More than basketball, the Hoops for Him program hopes to expose both players and their families to the love of Jesus Christ.