Members of the Pacific Ridge boys varsity basketball team spent a week of their summer vacation sharing the sport they love with children in Tijuana during a three-day youth basketball camp. Working in collaboration with a three-week camp being managed by educational nonprofit Responsibility, the Firebirds taught basketball skills to more than 30 eager boys and girls in low-income Colonia Fausto Gonzelez, a community that was originally established by workers of Tijuana’s largest municipal dump. The Pacific Ridge players served as coaches and coordinators, spending three hours each morning teaching the campers basketball basics, organizing drills and games, leading cheers and celebrating long days on the outdoor court with hi-fives and ice cream.
The Firebirds also used the trip as an opportunity to engage in friendly international competition (they spent afternoons playing games against local teams at Gimnasio Ruffo Appel in Rosarito), enjoy cultural activities (with visits to museums, the border wall memorial, a baseball game, and more), and practice their Spanish.
“It was an incredible opportunity for our team to practice global engagement just one hour away from our campus,” said Pacific Ridge coach Chris Burman. “We were so impressed with the kids’ enthusiasm, energy, and interest. The camp, the daily games against local teams and evening outings really served to bring our team together.”
The youth basketball camp is not the Firebirds’ first foray into team service work. For the past several years, the team has been volunteering at Carlsbad’s La Posada de Guadalupe homeless shelter. During their most recent visit in December, the boys joined forces with Pacific Ridge Service Learning Group Notes of Hope to serve a holiday meal and perform for the shelter’s residents.
Additionally, all Pacific Ridge students participate in a robust, yearlong Service Learning program as part of the school curriculum. Middle School students spend each year rotating through a variety of community partners including Head Start, ActivCare assisted living and San Diego County Animal Services. Upper School students can choose to join one of the more than 20 established Service Learning groups, or create one of their own.