Community Basketball League
The Community Basketball League is an all-volunteer run basketball league that takes place for one month in the summer at Jerry Burrell Park in Hamilton Hill, Schenectady NY. The league maintains and operates a safe and healthy environment in the park for community residents that otherwise might not find the park to be safe for play. We work with at-risk male youth ages 16+. The league runs on each consecutive Saturday in the month of July culminating in a two day championship series during the last weekend.
The League’s ultimate goal is to foster relationships and team building skills between youth and showcase the talent of the residents in the Hamilton Hill community. The Basketball League provides an opportunity for youth and to gain a different experience with one another; a positive encounter working together towards a shared goal—winning the game! Familiarity with one another and creating positive experiences, communication and community building will likely lead to a better outcome in future encounters and affect the fabric of the community in a unified way.
- To provide a safe environment in Jerry Burrell Park (a park with a lot of negative stigma and perception of unsafe to the community)
- To deter fighting or gun violence in and around the park while we are occupying it
- To foster long lasting and beneficial relationships between youth and the male role models who are stepping into the volunteer coaching positions
- To educate and shadow organizing skills to volunteer residents who are interested in implementing their own community programs
- To bridge the gap and support influence between positive role models in institutional and organizational settings by bringing them into the community to show their investment in the community
First priority is given to youth who live and play in the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. Recruitment for youth players is done through word of mouth in the neighborhood and through community organizations such as the YMCA. The League recruits 64 players in total that make up 8 basketball teams of 8 youth. We have about 20-25 volunteers from the community who organize, supervise, coach and volunteer to carry out the main duties of the event each week.
Each week new vendors and additional organizations are invited to contribute to the festivities surrounding the basketball league. Festivities usually include a dj, free food provided by Boys Day Out, a book mobil provided by the Schenectady School District, Yoga in the Park, blow up rentals for young children, and additional activities and specialty vendors.
The League aims to incorporate community members from the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods, in the planning, participation, and implementation of the program. Volunteers, community members, and organizational leaders that youth look to as role models, mentors, and authoritative figures are encouraged and recruited to assist in the implementation of the league and the facilitation of the relationships between youth are instrumental in helping to foster a sense of community between community residents. Volunteers often consist of teachers, school officials, school coaches, well known community athletes, and other adults that youth know and trust. This allows us to be successful in developing rapport and establishing relationships with youth and dealing with conflict situations accordingly if they so come up.
MOC partners with the YMCA of Schenectady, Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady, Washington Irving Educational Center, Oneida Middle Schools, and Schenectady High School staff.
Our past sponsors for the league include MVP Healthcare, Schenectady YMCA, 90’s Sportsbar, Save Our Streets Inc., First Reformed Church, Exclusive Barbershop, The Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association, Stewarts, and several volunteer coaches from the community.