Night Hoops is a non-profit organization that provides late-night basketball programming for at-risk youth and offers them the chance to grow and learn in a supervised and supportive environment. In 1996, this program was created to provide a constructive recreational opportunity for teens on Friday and Saturday nights. Night Hoops’ Mission is: “To encourage healthy life choices for youth through the context of a pro-social late-night basketball program.”
Night Hoops connects youth with their community through the organization of basketball leagues which are based out of community centres, neighbourhood houses, community schools, and the youth custody services. Many of the youth involved in the program are unable to otherwise participate in organized sport due to life circumstances such as needing to work part-time, look after younger siblings, or having social or educational disruptions. Night Hoops gives youth an opportunity to wear a jersey and be part of a team while representing their community. A fundamental principle of Night Hoops is inclusion; there are no gender, skill-level or economic barriers to participation. Night Hoops is free to participants.
Night Hoops was originally conceived of by Gordon Hogg who was a Director of a Youth Custody Centre looking for ways to reduce recidivism. He sought direction for support from Basketball B.C. whose Executive Director Mike Hind connected him with Pete Quevillon and Greg Eng who were Managers within Vancouver Parks and Recreation.
Since its inception in 1996, over 4,200 boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 18 have participated in Night Hoops as well as over 240 coaches. Night Hoops promotes community and personal development through teamwork, fair play, life-skills and fun.
Night Hoops programming involves both running basketball leagues as well as providing leadership, mentoring, and training opportunities for coaches and referees. There are currently 3 Night Hoops Leagues with approximately 400 participants playing on 24 teams located throughout Vancouver and Burnaby: Junior Girls (ages 13-15), Junior Boys (13-15), and Senior Boys (16-18). Recognizing that youth are at-risk for various reasons regardless of the neighbourhood they reside in, Night Hoops focuses on Inner-City involvement while including other sites whose youth have greater resources but little supervision and limited connection to the community. This balance enables Night Hoops to ensure that we are able to involve youth from many backgrounds to create a support network for all. Night Hoops accepts referrals from numerous community social service providers such as Social Workers, Probation Officers, High School Counselors, Police Officers and Youth Workers.
Because of the background of Night Hoops youth, coaches and referees require additional training. Our coaches need to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to lead and empower the at-risk youth involved in our program. By doing so, they become mentors to the teens and can have a significant impact on them in making positive life choices. Current training opportunities include: Coaching Clinics, Working with At-Risk Youth workshop, Skills 4 Life, and a Referees Clinic.
Night Hoops offers teens the chance to grow and learn in a supportive environment. Community and personal development is promoted through teamwork, fair play, life skills and fun. This is further enhanced by weekly life-skills workshops that are led or facilitated by coaches with their teams. Workshop topics are intended to be relevant to youth: cyber bullying, career exploration, special needs awareness, drug use, sexual health, earthquake preparedness, financial management, peer pressure, weight training, and nutrition. These workshops are intended to empower youth to make positive life choices. Sometimes youth will take the initiative to lead a workshop involving a topic of interest they are currently experiencing.
Night Hoops has several community partners which include: Vancouver Park Board and Community Centre Associations, Vancouver School Board, Burnaby School District 41, MoreSports, Ministry of Child and Family Development, and the Vancouver Police Department. Night Hoops is currently undergoing expansion to new communities and hopes to become a national program. As the program is free for all participants, Night Hoops relies on the ability to seek corporate funding to support the continuation of its current services and any future expansion.