What do you get if you take a group of year 5 and 6 students and team them with professional basketballers?
If you've been following the work of 12 Buckets for a while, you may already know that in 2015, we launched two basketball teams - the Balga Rockets and the North Balga Rockets.
These two teams could not have happened without the support of SBL club, Stirling Senators. The partnership between the Senators and 12 Buckets sees professional basketball players coaching and mentoring children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to play a sport outside of school. This in turn enables them to experience and foster the kinds of relationships that occur when part of a team.
In 2015, US imports Cassie Bates and Kyle Lindbergh agreed to coach the Balga Rockets and North Balga Rockets respectively. Kyle admits that until then, he'd never had much interest in coaching:
Prior to being with this group of kids, I never really wanted to coach. But now my coaching outlook has changed and is something I want to pursue as a career ... it's just really had a great impact on my life and now my love for basketball is even greater.
The impact was such that not only has Kyle returned for another season with the Stirling Senators, but he has joined the 12 Buckets team to oversee the basketball program in 2016.
Kyle says that he has a greater understanding of the influence he is able to have on the students he coaches, but adds he has also learned a great deal from them:
The kids I have coached have taught me that there is so much more to sport and that at it's very basic nature, sport is meant to be joyous experience ... I have been reminded that regardless of whether you win or lose, or how many points you score, it is such a blessing and privilege to be able to play a game of basketball.
Kyle will continue to coach the North Balga Rockets, while his wife and fellow US import, Kara Van Dyke, has jumped on board to work with the Balga Rockets. She says:
I hope the kids grow in their self-esteem and have fun working together in a team. I hope they grow as individuals and build their own confidence. Overall, of course, I hope they have fun together no matter if they win or lose.
And we're totally rapt to announce that the partnership is expanding to include a third team - this time at Koondoola Primary School. The children there will benefit from the skills of Cody Ellis, who has again signed with the Stirling Senators after completing his season with NBL team Illawarra Hawks.
The three teams begin their season on Wednesday 27 April.
Watch this space for some exciting collaborative events between 12 Buckets and Stirling Senators at Warwick Stadium.