In 2005, Colleen Aguilar founded Basketball as a Mission to create new opportunities for children through basketball. Basketball as a Mission hosts week-long camps in Spanish-speaking countries, uniting economically underprivileged children with coaches from the United States by sharing and igniting a passion for the game of basketball. These basketball camps not only teach the children the joy of the game, but they also transform communities and positively influence every individual. Camp attendees learn valuable lessons about hard work, perseverance, and teamwork. Children are also given another outlet and opportunity to stay off the streets. The camps promote equality between men and women and young girls develop the confidence and the skills they need to succeed. In addition to the educational and societal influences on the children, Basketball as a Mission provides them with a wardrobe of basketball jerseys, shorts, undergarments, and shoes along with basketballs and equipment for the schools. The volunteer coaches are also affected. Coaches improve their universal communication skills, realize a new life perspective, and develop a deeper appreciation for faith.
In 2006, the first camps were held in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico and El Cruce de Arroyo Hondo, Dominican Republic. Basketball as Mission transformed the lives of over 100 children in it’s first year, along with the lives of the twenty coaches that volunteered for the camps. Since 2006, Basketball as a Mission has also reached out to San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, San Jose, Costa Rica, Monterrey, Costa Rica and Cordoba, Argentina. In the summer of 2010, Basketball as a Mission actually held two camps in Costa Rica. The first camp was held in Monterrey, a rural town in northern CR, and the second for children of Guadalupe, San Jose. Our eleven coaches traveled and worked with a total of 150 campers in Costa Rica and provided each of them with training, support, gear, equipment, and prizes. We also brought 15 coaches to our camp in El Cruce, Dominican Republic, where we had a massive number of 137 campers come out for our camp. The El Cruce camp demonstrates the passion we have created for basketball the area, as our camp has grown from about 60 campers in 2006 to more than double its size just 5 years later.
Since its inception in 2005, Basketball as a Mission has aided more than 800 athletes and forty coaches through a total of thirteen inspiring basketball camps. The organization hopes to continue enriching the lives of the children in these countries and reach out to other communities in need of aid.