Community Ed hoops a hit after 25 years

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

February 15, 2006

Hood River’s Community Education youth basketball program was started in 1981 by Mike Schend. With about a dozen teams the first season, Schend designed the program based on his experience as a YMCA director. YMCA concepts promote youth sports for the sake of encouraging and developing basic skills, sportsmanship and team attitudes. With no winners or losers, no league records and no pressure, Community Education basketball was to embody the core principal of sports just for fun.

And 25 years later, the program, which is currently in progress, consists of 38 teams of third through sixth grade boys and girls.

“It’s interesting,” Schend said. “We’ve been doing this long enough to see the generation change. The kids who are playing now have parents who played when they were kids. Whenever you have a program that continues and grows like this, it’s a good thing.”

The program is divided into four leagues this season, third and fourth grade boys and girls and fifth and sixth grade boys and girls. Each team practices once a week and plays one game every Saturday from Jan. 14 to Feb. 25, with teams from Parkdale, Odell, Pine Grove, Westside, Mid Valley, Cascade Locks and White Salmon.

Several rules are changed in order to promote fun and enjoyment of the game. For example, at the beginning of every game, each player gets to shoot a free-throw that counts toward the overall score. Other modified rules include every foul going to the free-throw line, no back-court defense, no double-teaming, and lower baskets.

“The idea is to make it easier for the kids to play and enjoy the sport. The philosophy is to encourage participation and the love of the game so the kids will enjoy it and come back and play again … For some, it’s their first time with team sports. We want to make it a good experience for them so they continue as they get older.”

An exciting element to the season is that a handful of teams — chosen by random — get to play each other at halftime of Hood River Valley High School and Horizon Christian School basketball games. For most of the kids, they play in front of the biggest audience of their lives.

“The grins on their faces tell the story,” Schend said about the halftime players. “You can tell it’s a neat experience for them.”

A league of 38 teams would not be possible without the help of the local volunteers. With two or more coaches per team, about 100 coaches are helping this season.

“There are a lot of caring parents and coaches out there,” Schend said. “The league doesn’t happen without their participation.”

After basketball, Community Education youth sports moves to the summer soccer season.

The K-2nd graders will start in June and the 2nd-8th graders will start in August.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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