CARLSBAD — High school students from across North County are learning that sports have the ability to transcend language barriers and borders.
Last week, students from Pacific Ridge School spent three days in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, hosting basketball clinics and scrimmages with local children and youth league players.
Six players from the Pacific Ridge boys varsity basketball team went to Rosarito on July 17 to teach lessons at youth camps in the area. About 70 kindergarten-aged children were enthusiastic about being coached by the older students, learning basic skills like dribbling and shooting.
The group is working with Mexico-based nonprofit Responsibility, which provides schooling and summer programs for children living near the Tijuana municipal dumps. The children are learning English, so the basketball lessons give them another opportunity to practice their language skills. The Pacific Ridge players served as coaches and coordinators, spending each morning teaching campers basketball basics and hosting fun games like relay races.
The Pacific Ridge team spent its afternoons in spirited competition playing against local youth basketball clubs. Pacific Ridge Basketball Coach Chris Burman called the games highly competitive.
“There have been some really close games,” he said. “It’s great for our players to spend time together and try something that’s totally unique.”
In addition to giving the team a chance to practice basketball over the summer, the trip gives students the opportunity to connect with communities in a different country.
Coach Burman, who is also a Spanish teacher at Pacific Ridge, was able to connect with youth basketball leaders in the community, thanks to ties to the area. Many teachers at Pacific Ridge utilize connections, around the world, to help students expand their global outlook each year.
The youth basketball camp isn’t the first time the Firebirds have jumped into team service work. Each year, the basketball team volunteers at Carlsbad’s La Posada de Guadalupe homeless shelter. In the winter, they provide a meal and partner with other Pacific Ridge School service learning groups to put on a performance. This is the second year the basketball team hosted basketball clinics in Mexico.