SUVA – Today is International Volunteer Day, and FIBA would like to celebrate and thank all the volunteers who make incredible contributions toward making basketball the most popular sports community.
Jonno Steel has a youth basketball coaching background from Brisbane, Australia and has been volunteering in Fiji for the past 18 months with BF’s disability inclusion and hoops for health programs.
"My favourite thing about volunteering with Basketball Fiji over the last 18 months has been the friends that I've made in the federation and working at our national competitions," said Steel.
"My fondest memory of volunteering in Fiji is seeing the smiles on the kids' faces during our visits to the special schools and working with the teachers at the schools to help grow basketball in Fiji."
Another Australian volunteer, Jess Taylor, has been working with BF to develop their communications and media relations. She has made an invaluable impact on the visibility and presence of basketball in Fiji.
Even after the amount of work she has done for the federation, Taylor insists it is BF who has made the impact on her.
"I think the Federation has made the bigger impact on me," said Taylor. "I have truly seen how sport can be used for good, both in promoting health but also in raising awareness of social issues. So, my thanks goes to Basketball Fiji, for making such a big impact on me."
When asked about her favourite aspect of working with the Federation, Taylor couldn't speak highly enough of the people involved.
"The people and the passion. If you play or support basketball in Fiji - you really, really love the sport. Rugby is the Nation's favourite game, but basketball has the biggest heart and that's all thanks to the people and their passion."
James Blackwell also volunteers with BF and has been instrumental in the success of Basketball in Fiji. From Corporate Operations and Logistics Coordinator for the New Zealand Breakers to his time in Oregon, U.S.A, Blackwell is using his extensive experience to develop the game of basketball in Fiji and add to his sports administrator experience.
Blackwell is very proud of what BF has been able to accomplish in his first 3 months in country.
"I think it is really refreshing to see that in 3 short months we have seen such a change in the federation. I am very proud to see the push in 3x3 and to know I have had a hand in that."
"Most days it doesn’t feel like work because of the people I work with," added Blackwell. "I could be here 50 or 60 hours some weeks and still enjoy it."
"My fondest memory would be at the end of our 3x3 tournament for the (UN’s Day of) Elimination of Violence Against Women. I had helped run the event and additionally, played, coached and refereed. We then all went back to the office afterward to pack up, and eventually, the team and I went home exhausted, but completely satisfied in the caliber event we ran and I left proud of the work we all had put in to make it a success."
Basketball in Fiji is lucky to have such passionate and committed volunteers, FIBA would like to thank them and millions of volunteers all over the globe just like them who make the sport we love possible.
Basketball Fiji's Hoops for Health program is made possible by the support of FIBA and Australian Government funding through the Pacific Sports Partnership program.