IT WAS an event built on a simple philosophy – host it and they will come.
And come they have, slam dunking and alley-ooping their way court side on Saturday nights for the past six years as part of Midnight Basketball.
Aimed at keeping local teens stimulated and off the streets, the event, held at the Sports Dome, has been a stunning success, regularly reaching maximum registrations for its two, eight-week tournaments each year.
Local indigenous teenager Edan Porter is one of many regular faces at the event, playing in every tournament for the past four years.
Now 16, Edan credits the lessons learned during Midnight Basketball for changing the trajectory of his life.
“It’s kept me out of trouble and given me something to do on Saturday nights,” he said.
The Year 11 Peel High student has even landed a traineeship with the local Commonwealth Bank, juggling a day a week at the branch with his school studies and a TAFE course in financial services. One of the co-ordinators of Midnight Basketball, Marg Hombsch from Joblink Plus, said the magic of the program was its ability to engage teenagers on their own level.
“It targets their area of interest and while they are with us we have a captive audience,” Ms Hombsch said.
“It provides us with an opportunity to give them life skills training.”
Employing the mantra “no workshop, no jumpshot”, organisers take participants through the hoops of nutrition and health, anti-bullying, job readiness, team building and other topics.