Basketball Camp Taznakht: Run. Breathe. Play.
Sports clubs, which allow young people to develop valuable skills such as leadership, decision-making, confidence and teamwork, are less common in schools in Morocco than in the U.S. Girls in particular are less involved in sports given cultural norms that support boys participation in sports more than girls. In Tazhakht, Morocco, a town of approximately 7,000 people, the local youth center recently launched an official youth sports club, amidst great community support. This small project will help the community to capitalize on the recent increase in interest in youth sports by supporting a five-day basketball camp for twenty boys and twenty girls, focused on developing their skills as players, training them as leaders, and educating them on the importance of involving girls in sports equally. The goal of the project, post-camp, is to establish a male and female basketball team in the town that can compete against other towns in the future.
The basketball camp was attended by 30 youth from the community. Through various workshops and basketball games, the youth were engaged and learned the rules, strategies, techniques, and proper form associated with basketball, as well as valuable lessons about teamwork and sportsmanship. The girls enjoyed learning the new sport and a few have inquired about joining a local team. The project impressed the local middle school Principal, who is willing to allow the teams to use the middle school basketball court for future practices and games. Since the project, there has been an increased interest in Camp Taznakht from other community members who want to play basketball and be included in future camps.
“Basketball camp provided a space for young women and girls to play basketball. Basketball camp created a norm which established the girls’s right to play basketball without fear of not knowing how to play or being intimidated by males using the court thereby setting the precedence that girls in Taznakht do, in fact, play basketball.” – Joelle, Peace Corps Volunteer
“Basketball Camp gave girls in our community the opportunity to participate playing a sport (basketball) with boys. This was the first time that we ever had a sports camp in our community and it was open to both girls and boys, which too was a new thing.” – Abderrahman, 23, Project Participant