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This year marked the sixth anniversary of the Northern Cheyenne Basketball Clinic (NCBC). This week-long youth development program combines basketball fundamentals and skills with physical fitness education, healthy nutrition mentoring, and youth leadership activities. We’re delighted with the continuity of this key sports and health program and see its impacts in overall well-being among native youth across the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

The Clinic began in 2011 after SNCC’s Executive Director Joseph Kunkel and Alick Dearie, Founding Principal of GriD Architects, led a summer-term design studio at Northern Cheyenne for University of Maryland’s School of Architecture Planning and Preservation graduate students. Recognizing the need for more immediate impact within the community to create opportunities for youth, several high school coaches from Paul VI High School, a top ranked basketball high school joined the Clinic facilitation team. The NCBC has progressively grown in size and has resulted in improved access to community services including the Tribal Wellness Program, the Suicide Prevention Program, and the Youth Leadership Development Program.

This year, we partnered again with the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council as part of their Tribal Prevention Initiative, bringing substantial financial support to host coaches from around the nation including: Curtis Symonds, from Washington, DC, who served the WNBA’s Washington Mystics as their Chief Operating Officer; Steve Bayless, a former NBA player from Seattle, WA; and Mitchell Waterman from Dayton OH, a former collegiate basketball player and father of Kelsey Mitchell who plays for Ohio State University women's basketball team.

Reservation-wide, people look forward to this annual summer event. Basketball brings the community together at a time when there are few youth programs. The 2017 Clinic served over 80 tribal youth, aged 6 to 18, from all of the Reservation’s five districts. We look forward to this ongoing sports programing for the Northern Cheyenne youth and will continue to share inspiring and impactful stories we experience each summer on the Rez.