On behalf of the Gil Basketball Academy family, I would like to thank all those patrons and our community as a whole that helped support GBA’s endeavor of our 2011 New Zealand Summer Basketball Tour. Your support and encouragement allowed us to take 30 kids on a 10-day International Basketball Tour of New Zealand. In all, you supported us in raising $62,000 to make this unique trip come to fruition. The following are just a few examples of what your support helped to accomplish:
- Our students became ambassadors of the United States and proudly wore the American flag on the left shoulder of their uniforms.
- As ambassadors, they exchanged gifts with the host teams after every contest. The bottom line is that they all represented the USA with class and dignity and our community should be very proud.
- For 10-days, our kids were treated like rock stars as they were the hit of New Zealand. Kiwi hospitality is second to none.
- Our kids did really well for their first International Basketball competition. Our boys’ 10-under went 4-1; our boys’ 17-under went 3-2; and our girls’ 13-under went 2-3.
- This was the first time many of our students got on an airplane, let alone been out of the country (6,724 miles away).
- Many of our students have never owned a passport. You should have seen the look on their faces when they received their first foreign stamp in the passport…priceless!
- Our student’s minds were broadened with a whole new global perspective. They learned a new, beautiful Maori culture that they really enjoyed being a part of.
- They participated in two different welcoming Maori tribe ceremonies, which included a Maori warrior dance challenge.
- Our students were able to go to school with Maori students for a whole day. Through this experience, they also learned how to do that tribe’s Haka (tribal warrior dance/chant).
- Unique to our experience was the opportunity for our students and families to be billeted by host families and to be lodged by way of a Marae. They made many friends for life.
- Our students were able to go up a large mountain in Rotorua by riding up a skyline ride and then came down riding on a luge. Talk about awesome!
- Several of our students learned and played the fine game of rugby from students from one of their billets.
- Known for wool, our students learned the different types of sheep that are raised in New Zealand and even saw how the sheep are sheered and how the wool is processed for textile.
- Our students were able to ride up the SkyTower in Auckland. This building, which looks like Seattle’s Space Needle, is 1,076 feet tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast,making it the tallest free-standing structure in the southern hemisphere.
Sport has the ability to teach our youth many important core values in life. This first class experience taught our students how their lives play an important role in a global society and we have no doubt that our students came back with a renewed sense of positive citizenship and leadership within our community. Once again, we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and look forward to your continued support of the GilBasketballAcademy mission.
Dr. Roberto Nunez, GBA Parent / Volunteer Coach