To finish off their spring break filled with all kinds of fun and new experiences, middle school and high school youth gathered at Bronco Youth Center March 17-19 to participate in a basketball tournament.

Sixteen teams participated in the tournament, with 10 of them in the middle school age division and six in the high school age division.  

This was the fourth annual spring break basketball tournament and Vickie Jackson, sports and fitness director for Child and Youth Services, was excited to host it, not just because it is so popular amongst the kids, but because it is a good learning tool as well.

“It’s what the youth want to do. It’s very successful each year and it teaches sportsmanship, hard work and determination, mental and emotional stability, fitness and physical health, (the) value of teamwork and just to have fun,” she said.

So many teams signed up to participate in the tournament that they had to extend it an extra day. Jackson believes this is because many of the youth at the Great Place have a great love and passion for the sport and enjoy being part of a team.

“And also, for those that did not leave for spring break it gives them something positive to do for three days,” she added.

Though there are many physically demanding elements of basketball Jackson believes that the most challenging part for the kids was a mental element.

“To see where you (the kids) measure up against others in the same age or grade as themselves,” she explained.

It was hard to tell this tournament apart from any official UIL game with the amount of family that came out to support their kids and Jackson was happy to see it.

“It’s all about the kids,” she stated. “To see them dedicated to the game of basketball and wanting to be the best, while their families are cheering them on. (It was) Just a positive environment for all.”

The Focus Scholars were victorious in the middle school tournament and Montague YC Black were the champions of the high school competition.

When asked what she hoped the kids gained from their experience in the tournament Jackson responded, “That hard work pays off and hopefully they will return next year and see how their skills have improved.”

There are several other opportunities coming up for kids to participate in different sports and other fun events. For more information on how to register and what is being offered, visit the Fort Hood CYS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Hood.CYS.