Leadership on the Basketball Court

Leadership on the Basketball Court
By Vanessa Smith - Project Manager, Museum of the Girl

In July of 2018 the Mariposas participated in the first ever summer basketball camp, led by former collegiate athlete and Princeton Varsity Basketball Captain Vanessa Smith.

After inaugurating our newly paved basketball court, the girls spent 8 weeks playing games, learning teamwork, new skills, and developing a newfound love for the sport. Our camp was offered to close to 70 girls and our court was filled every day with cheers and laughs! The girls loved playing against each other as well as showing off their skills to visiting volunteer groups and even staff members. We ended the summer with a final All-Star game between 12 of the most improved players competing in front of a crowd of their peers. All of the girls left camp with memories of laughter, certificates to celebrate their accomplishments, and pictures to commemorate their success.

For many of the girls, this was their first exposure to basketball and the first opportunity that they were invited to learn the techniques and skills of a sport traditionally dominated by boys and men. A culture of machismo has made basketball courts and other sports inaccessible to girls here in DR. However, our court is different. Our court stands as one of the few on the entire north coast that is exclusively accessible to girls. In line with our mission of empowerment, we are thrilled to be opening these types of opportunities up to our girls and our community and inspire the future basketball stars of the DR. 

Our basketball camp along with our other summer sports programs (surfing, cycling, swimming and softball) are all designed to empower, challenge, and inspire our girls; igniting a passion for fitness and body positivity that aligns with our mission here at the center. MDRF is dedicated to experiential learning and offering a holistic education, which includes physical education. Our sports programs have always been a source of fun, learning, and empowerment for all of the girls.