Organisations and people involved
In co-operation with the Lithuania Deaf Sports Federation and with economical contribution from the FIBA, the Deaf International Basketball Federation arranged an International Deaf Youth Basketball Camp in Vilnius , Lithuania 21-26 June 2005. Participants were youngsters of age 14-18 years, boys and girls from Belorussia , Estonia , Latvia , Lithuania , Russia , Sweden and Ukraine . Conductors of the youth camp were the DIBF Secretary General Kjell Gunnå responsible for the prearrangement and theory lessons and head instructor Christian Boklund, responsible for the practice sessions during the camp. This was the first time the DIBF undertook such an arrangement and most probably this was also the first time in any deaf sport ever such an international deaf youth camp was arranged. The participants covered their own travels to Lithuania while the DIBF through the annual economical assistance by the FIBA covered all local expenses.
Mr Aleksas Jasiunas, President of Lithuanian Deaf Sports Federation and Secretary General Mr Marius Mincevicius helped me to plan the camp with schedule and to make contacts with necessary people in advance for booking of lodging and gym and transportations for the youth camp. They were also of very great help in the further conduction of the camp. I also want to forward my gratitude to the instructors from the different countries participating and other voluntary people working with the camp. Due to economic restrictions and because this camp was arranged for the first time and regarded being an experiment only participants from ten countries in Northern Europe were invited. Seven could participate. List of participants on last page of report.
Instructors during the camp were the following:
Kjell Gunna , Sweden , responsible of camp and head instructor
Christian Boklund, Sweden , head instructor
Algirdas Jurksa , Lithuania
Remigijus Balaisis , Lithuania
Algimantas Satas , Lithuania (hearing pinnacle coach)
Iveta Kraze, Latvia
Gatis Dunajevs, Latvia (hearing)
Ulodzimir Surin , Belorussia
Sergei Griga, Belorussia
Pritt Berg , Estonia (hearing)
Cecilia Ferm, Sweden
Andrey Pimenov , Russia
Gusev Dmitry , Russia
Lavrik Vitaliy , Ukraine
Location and participants
The practice sessions took place mainly at the legendary Sarunas Marciulionus Basketball Academy where three courts were for our access. The gym at the Vilnius Deaf Boarding School was also used for some practice sessions but mostly it was used in the evening for the youngsters to play and practice by themselves. This was very popular and the gym was all the evenings crowded with youngsters doing their best to steal the balls from each other. However, the older youngsters organised games and tournaments themselves.
The accommodation at Vilnius Deaf Boarding School was very good and fully met with the requirements of the participants. The meals were served at the school and the food was quite sufficient and well tasting. Many thanks to the women staff serving us. We presented them flowers the last day thanking them for their much appreciated work.
There was quite a distance to walk on a heavy trafficked way between the school and the Basketball Academy . Therefore a transportation schedule with a booked bus was worked out. This schedule worked out absolutely perfect and everybody was satisfied with this solution.
Aims and goals with Deaf Youth Camp
The aims and goals with this first International Deaf Youth Basketball Camp were:
- To bring together deaf young boys and girls from different countries to learn each others cultures, sign languages and to function together
- To train the youngsters in both fundamental and more advanced basketball
- To give deaf coaches/instructors a chance to learn and discuss other training methods than their own
- To draw experiences of the camp for future camps at other locations
Training - lectures
The participants were divided into three girls and three boys groups. Each group had six practice sessions during the camp led by head instructor Christian Boklund and the other instructors. A frame with different training drills at different levels had been constructed in advance by Kjell Gunnå and Christian Boklund but all instructors were encouraged to add their own different drills with the participants. Dedicated and engaged deaf and also a couple of hearing instructors from the home countries of the participants made an invaluable effort in making this camp such a success. You could clearly see that they wanted to teach basketball and worked very hard to achieve this goal. It was a pure pleasure to watch this!
Of special importance was the presence of twice named "Deaflympic Sportswoman of the Year" - Cecilia Ferm who plays for the top team Solna Vikings in Sweden. Cecilia made a great impact at all girls and no doubt she could really encourage the girls to further practice and playing basketball. Their questions to her regarding her basketball training and games and also personal circumstances were innumerable.
Unfortunately this occasion, much to our regret, there was not much time for us conductors and instructors to socialise and meet with the participants during the evenings. But no doubt we all will be meeting many of the participants in future DIBF arrangements such as Regional and World Championships, club events, other camps and coaches clinics/development seminars.
Between the practice sessions there were two theoretical sessions led by myself. Issues were physics, doping in which FIBA campaign - "We are for clean basketball" was used and leadership roles. Dealing with AIDS/HIV issues was also scheduled but had to be cancelled due to sudden reallocation of lecture rooms and thereby lack of time. The lecture rooms were equipped with facilities enough to ensure a good review of the seminar content and smooth discussions.
The World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, kindly sent us their brochures and other material regarding doping which was used during the doping information and discussions.
The first DIBF International Deaf Youth Basketball Camp was an extremely great success which completely met with the aims and goals of the camp expressed above. It was a pure joy for me to see all deaf youngsters and their instructors communicate in sign language. This must truly be one of the meanings with the ongoing FIBA campaign "Basketball Without Borders".
The participants excelled in profound and engaged discussions showing much enthusiasm and willingness to learn from the practice sessions and the theory lessons. Especially good discussions were about the DIBF and its work, discussions and questions regarding doping and lesson about leadership roles. I am sure in future we will see the many of these participants in leading roles of deaf basketball in their home-countries and with fully developed contacts with the deaf and hearing basketball organisations of their home-countries.
The participating players were outfitted with t-shirts with logos on front and camp texts on their backs and the instructors were given polo-shirts with the DIBF and Lithuanian Deaf Sports Federation logos on.
All youngsters were given a certification of their participation and a training report graded 1- 5 in which they were give advice of what to practice more of. All instructors will later be given a certification of their active contribution to the camp.
Thank due to annual economic support from the FIBA Council for Basketball for People with a Disability and its President Mr Jan Berteling, the DIBF is able to perform its activities such as above mentioned youth camps, deaf coaches clinics, development seminars, arrangements of tournaments and contests and many other activities.
I would like to forward the DIBF´s and my own deeply felt gratitude to the Lithuanian Deaf Sports Federation, its President Mr Aleksas Jasiunas and his staff for their dedication and accomplishment with this camp and for a very good co-operation.
Secretary General DIBF