The program which supports community volunteers to organise basketball tournaments and give kids a fun alcohol and drug-free option for those high-risk periods.
Midnight Basketball started as a response to the question, ‘what’s there for a young person to do on a Friday or Saturday night?’ This national charity is making ‘play basketball’ an option in the communities they’re running tournaments in. The mantra of the program is “It takes a village” and that underwrites their whole approach to raising kids. Instead of imposing the program top-down, they ask the village itself to come out as volunteers to organise, support, and run the tournaments.
Midnight Basketball runs across the country, including several locations in New South Wales. As a harm prevention charity it focusses on communities that have an ‘established need’ for such a program, which includes taking into consideration the socio-economic situation of potential locations.
Check out Midnight Basketball in the media for some news clips that show the program and its kids in action.
The program operates as 8 week tournaments, running twice a year over 2 year cycles. On a Friday or Saturday night from 7:30pm-Midnight. 60 kids kick off the night with a hot, nutritious meal. A mandatory life-skills workshop is held before they hit the courts for the basketball tournament. By midnight, the kids are taken home safely by bus. The program’s strict ‘no workshop, no jump shot’ policy has been a successful one, with kids reporting to evaluators that all parts of the program – including the workshops – were important to them.
Two teams at a time attend the workshop, which include topics like:
Both the community and Midnight Basketball contribute to the program in different ways. Midnight Basketball provides the community with uniforms, trophies, basketballs, and the implementation systems to get the program up and running, as well as $10,000 towards the cost of each 8 week tournament.
To keep the program affordable and sustainable, it’s volunteer-driven. Volunteers are also important because they give young people a chance to get to know and connect with the older members of the community, and to be exposed to positive and supportive adult role models. Midnight Basketball also creates a greater feeling of connection in the community – the young people aren’t the only ones who stand to make some new friends through the program.
There are lots of different ways that people from all sectors of the community can contribute.
Volunteer community committee:
This management committee is made up of representatives from across the community, representing different skills, sectors, and points of view. There are roles for:
Tournament night volunteers:
It’s a big effort to coordinate all of the people and resources to make Midnight Basketball happen, but the testimonials from former volunteers speak volumes about the value of the program.
On working with communities:
On young people:
On successful programs:
This sports program meets our best practice criteria for a great youth event by being:
Check out their new locations page first and if you are not sure about the criteria, or have a few questions? Call them for a chat. Then, start networking within your community to see what kind of support you can drum up!