San Salvador High School Basketball Team Feted by Club Med

San Salvador High School Basketball Team Feted by Club Med
By Lindsay Thompson
Bahamas Information Services

PORT ST LUCIE, Florida – Members of the Caciques Basketball Team of San Salvador Central High School were rewarded for their outstanding achievement in the game by being feted to a week-long stay at Club Med Sandpiper Bay.

Called the Caciques after the Arawak Indian chief, the team, accompanied by their teacher, Coach S. Brown, were given the VIP treatment upon their arrival at the all-inclusive resort also known for its comprehensive sporting programmes.

Club Med executives greeted the team at Ft. Lauderdale Airport and whisked them away in a chauffeur-driven limousine to the property where a private welcome cocktail reception and orientation at the Spanish Patio took place.

From August 9 to 16, 2014, the team enjoyed a week of activities which included nutrition presentation, private trapeze lessons, beach volleyball tournament, sailing and paddy boarding at the beach, and a basketball scrimmage versus the Club Med GOs.

It was the first time some of the youngsters travelled outside The Bahamas and they were all very appreciative of the opportunity to do so. Coach Brown, who is also President and Organizer of the San Salvador Youth Organization of which the team members are a part, explained how the event came about.

He said that Club Med Columbus Isle on San Salvador expressed an interest in becoming more involved in the community, specifically with the team, after having heard about their excellence in basketball. These accolades travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to Club Med and an invitation was extended to the team to visit the Sandpiper Bay property.

Coach Brown started the programme in 1999, and after about 10 years, the organizers worked hard to keep the programme going through mostly private funding and support. "Club Med saw what we were trying to do with the young men and are now willing to help us," he said, adding that the organization is focused on training young boys to men between the ages of 5 to 18 years.

"These are young men who went through the school basketball programme, as basketball is one of the tools we use to propel them to higher education. But we try to groom the whole man, spiritually, socially and educationally. In basketball, they are pretty good but I want them to just use that as a way and means to get free education into college," he said.

Coach Brown also applauded The Bahamas' Ministry of Tourism Sports Tourism Programme and hopes it is extended into the Family Islands, especially Club Med Columbus Isle. "I know Sports Tourism would just excel outside of Nassau and Atlantis," he said.

Arlene Coke, Director of Accounting, Consolidation and Treasury for Club Med North America, who is also Project Manager of the Columbus Day Extension Project, said the executives at Columbus Isle decided they wanted to do more for the community on the island.

"We decided to sponsor the basketball team as we saw that they have huge potential and they have been working so hard. There was this youth organization that was formed and it was to help the kids off the streets. We decided to sponsor them every year so they worked hard to be chosen to achieve this trip," she said.

Added Mrs. Coke, "We also decided to work with those who are better with their hands and form partnership with our maintenance team to also assist them to further develop either skills. So, we contacted Coach Brown to see how we can start the programme and we love what we have started. The kids are so excited and we are so excited to have them here."

Because of the close proximity between The Bahamas and Florida, she said executives thought it best to start the partnership between the two Club Med properties, on a long-term basis.

"We are looking for this to be a long term partnership; we would like to monitor their progress. We are also working with the primary school level to see how best we can design programmes such as tennis and how to play tennis in a fun way. Club Med is big on sports in an educational way," Mrs. Coke said.

She said that Club Med intends to always have a very close relationship with The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism: "Tourism is our industry and so we need to see how best we can form partnerships and see how we can help each other. We have worked well with them in the past and we hope to continue to work with them in the future."

David Meyer, Chef de Village at Club Med, was very honoured to have welcomed the team at Sandpiper Bay.

"We feel this is the perfect venue for them. Club Med Sandpiper is the leader in family resorts but also an active resort with a very extensive sports progamme whether it is infrastructure or programming. So, we feel we are very well equipped here in the village to accommodate this team," he said.

The village at Club Med Sand Piper has sports academies for tennis, golf, beach volleyball, and triathlon, assisting athletes to become future champions in all these core sports.