If you visit their website, you will quickly see that basketballMAUI is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to character and fundamentals development of Maui youth through the game of basketball. When you meet the president and founder of BasketballMAUI, Ben Prangell, you see and hear the excitement he has for reaching Maui’s youth for Christ through this ministry. We had the privilege of spending a couple of hours with Ben discussing this and other ministries he leads. We learned about the camp, Ben’s fund-raising efforts, and how people can get involved.
One of the wonderful things about basketballMAUI is the annual youth camp which features professional basketball players and world-class trainers and coaches. The week-long camp has two options. basketballMAUI/NBC Complete Skills Camp, which is offered at 2 sites, Lahaina Civic Center on west Maui and Kamehameha School, up country, for boys and girls 7-13 years of age. This camp focuses on the crucial keys to becoming a great player, both on and off the court. Teaching is broken down into four focus areas: Individual offense, defense, shooting and team skills. Campers are separated into teaching groups and teams based on their age and ability. Complete Skills Camps emphasis extensive skill development, intensity, enthusiasm, character development, leadership, and teamwork. NBC Camps’ full-time staff work year round to make NBC Camps the premier basketball camp in the world. basketballMAUI “NEXT LEVEL” Varsity Prep Camp will be at War Memorial Gym, in central Maui and focuses on the advanced male and female High School athletes who want a very competitive camp experience. Campers will be challenged by former Div. I College player and elite class basketball trainer Ryan Appleby, along with other college level coaches and players. This camp involves position specific training, personal training, life skills development and challenge groups. The “Next Level” Camp is designed for the athlete who wants to take his or her game and life to the next level.
The goal of the camps is to challenge the players to work toward excellence and purpose. The player, trainers, and coaches seek to connect with each individual camper on personal level and to share biblical values through the personal connections that they have made. The goal of this world-class athletic training is to instill character traits into Maui youth to help them become successful both on and off the court.
Throughout the calendar year, basketballMAUI continues to reach out to Maui’s Youth through scheduled School assemblies, clinics and special events. All of these offered at no cost to the School District, the players and or community members. In 2013 they were able to touch the lives of over 8,000 youth and their families.
Ben, in addition to being to president and founder, devotes some of his time to the much needed funds for the basketballMAUI. A goal of his efforts is to provide the financial support to continue to offer all that they do for little or no cost for those who could not otherwise afford to participate. Organizing all of these activities requires the rental of many facilities, accommodations for players, coaches, and other staff, as well as other logistical needs and expenses.
The major sources of fund-raising are a Night of Shooting Stars, corporate sponsorships, and individual donors. Other fund-raiser events are being planned for 2014. The Night of Shooting Stars is held on the Saturday after camp, takes place at the Lahaina Civic Center, and begins with a pre-game carnival and followed by a celebrity “warm-up” game. The final game features the NBA players who are committed to the vision and mission of basketballMAUI and have donated their time to help the youth of Maui. Corporate sponsors also provide financial and other means of support as well. Buzz Dahlen, Executive Director, adds; “We could not continue to do all that we do, without the support and partnership we have with local Churches, nonprofits, businesses and the County of Maui.”
Last year, the last day of camp wrapped with an event called Vertical Maui. This free event was held on the lawn of Hope Chapel in Kihei and featured music from Cristian reggae band Christafari, testimonies from several NBA players, and author and speaker, Francis Chan. Before and during the event there was a keiki (children’s) zone filled with free games and bounce houses, food vendors, and area for other local non-profits to share what they are all about.
How can you help? First and foremost pray for kids who will be attending this year’s camp which will be June 23-27, pray for corporate sponsors to step forward and support this ministry, and pray for this year’s special events, one of which will feature the screening of faith film “Midrange,” featuring Christian pro-athletes. Consider donating to provide scholarships for students who cannot afford the camp. Another way is to volunteer at our clinics and camp. There is need for volunteers of all kinds, but if you love the LORD, love kids and love basketball then you might consider joining basketballMAUI. If you are not on Maui, consider coming on a short-term mission trip. Many coaches and players come, raising money for their flight and accommodations while they are here. The investment you make will bring great return in the lives of Maui’s youth and for the Kingdom of God.
Please watch this short film about Basketball Maui.