Teams started practicing Dec. 9 and for first-year league coordinator, Kelli Bealieu, the objective of the season, and the league in general, is simple.
“Basically it’s just getting the kids out here playing…,” Bealieu said. “Our goal is to teach them the basic fundamentals of basketball, get them out there playing, and want them to come back year after year.”
The league is broken into a kindergarten co-ed league (eight teams), a first- and second-grade co-ed league (20 teams), a third- and fourth-grade co-ed league (16 teams), a fifth- and sixth-grade boys league (16 teams) and a fifth- and sixth-grade girls league (eight teams).
Bealieu said there are plenty of coaches this winter for the 68 teams, all of which are volunteers.
“It’s pretty amazing…,” she said. “Everybody stepped up. I didn’t have to search for coaches.”
However, the number of volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club who officiate the games is not as abundant.
“The only thing I would say I truly need is more referees,” Bealieu said. “I’m using the same group night after night so I would love to have more… the more the merrier.”
Each team plays one game a week, on a weekday, but Bealieu said she will have to schedule some Saturday games this winter because of the number of teams, and because of the Washoe County School District’s new three-week Holiday Break. The league was originally scheduled to wrap up March 1 but she has already pushed that date to March 6.
The league cost $70 to sign up for non club members, and $50 for members, but no child was turned down for financial reasons. The Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows offers “financial aid and scholarship opportunities.”
“This program isn’t just about basketball. It’s about getting them involved,” Bealieu said.
“A lot of these kids wouldn’t have the opportunities here where we live if it wasn’t for the Boys and Girls Club.”
As the Sparks and Reno youth prepare to play their first games of the season, Bealieu said her first season coordinating the league has gone smoothly.
“I’m loving it, I seem to be getting a lot of positive feedback,” she said. “I stepped in right when the season started… I think people are starting to get used to my style of running things so it’s great. I’m so excited to be here at the Boys and Girls Club and everyday get to spend time with these kids and especially work with the sport I love the most.”
Those interested in volunteering should contact Bealieu at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows and the Winter Basketball League can be found at www.bgctm.org.