The young people from Serpentine Jarrahdale Community Recreation Centre at the Belmont Oasis Leisure Centre joined reigning NBL Champions Angus Brandt and Dexter Kernich-Drew from the Perth Wildcats earlier this month.
The Wildcats players and the SJ and Belmont City youth competed in the YMCA World Challenge event, which commemorated YMCA’s 175th birthday.
The challenge ran from 4pm to 6pm, with two matches pitching young people against the staff to begin the event, followed by the clash of the young people teams and their Wildcats coaches in the grand final.
Youth service manager David Reid said the event was made possible by the City of Belmont.
“Like with all our programs the main objective of this event was to provide the opportunity for young people to access a fun, safe and free activity regardless of their ability,” he said.
“As well as playing against the staff and each other, the young people took on a number of other roles including photographer, referee assistant, points keeper, time keeper and assistant coaches.
“Sport is one of the many tools we use to support the development of young people and their transition to adulthood.”
Mr Reid said events like the challenge allowed the YMCA to intentionally promote health and wellbeing, sportsmanship and a sense of fair play while developing team work, communication and negotiation skills with the young people all while having fun.
“The event was a huge success,” he said.
“All the young people played extremely well, showing great team spirit and some impressive skills.
“They received a basketball at the end of the event for taking part, lining up to have them signed by their coaches Angus and Dexter and the grand final winners each received a gift voucher for Kmart and a gold medal, and special prizes were awarded to girl and boy of the match, as well as the young person of the event.”
Josh, 12 said seeing the Wildcats was the best bit because he had never seen them before.
“Dexter is my favourite player,” he said.
“I got to be on his team and Dexter told me I was very good and to keep training which made me very happy because I’d love to play pro.”