Former USC guard and current Nisei Week candidate Jamie Hagiya along with reigning Nisei Week Queen Dana Heatherton and the incredible support of Ron and Cindy Dyo from the PJCI, organized the Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute’s Girls Cultural and Basketball Clinic.
The clinic was held this past weekend at Alhambra High School and was sponsored by the PJCI, Philip Ito from F.I.A. Insurance, Ron and Cindy Dyo, Gary Yamauchi of Tri Star Vending and Vice Mayor City of Alhambra, and Coast Produce.
The camp was a community service idea Hagiya and Heatherton created in order to serve Pasadena Bruins first through 8th grade girls. They wanted to use basketball as a way to strengthen the Pasadena Japanese American community, encourage young JA girls to learn more about their culture, and also to build bridges between the younger and older Pasadena Bruins girls in the organization by having the volunteer coaches in their twenties assist younger Bruins that participated in the clinic.
They structured the clinic to include basketball fundamentals and cultural lessons throughout the day. Instructors from the Pasadena Gakuen School joined the girls at lunch and taught them how to write their names in Japanese using brush painting techniques. The participants also learned how to make inari sushi with the help of the volunteer coaches for the clinic.
The morning started off with an official greeting from Vice Mayor Yamauchi who helped secure the gym for the event. Hagiya led the clinic with drills and was assisted by former and current Pasadena Bruins players. Also helping out were Nisei Week Court members Whitney Itano, Aimee Machida, Marisa Tamaru, and 2008 Court Member Marissa Ishii.
The clinic was entirely free for the participants thanks to sponsorship by the PJCI. Parents also came out to show their support, watch the clinic, observe the cultural lessons, and eat lunch.
Hagiya and Heatherton said that they were overwhelmed with the positive responses they received from the day. Approximately 50 girls from nine Pasadena Bruin teams showed up for the inaugural event.
Kevin Fong, the coordinator for the Pasadena Bruins girls organization passed on these comments from one Pasadena Bruins parent who attended the clinic: “We thought this mini-camp was amazing! Both of our girls, their teammates, and parents really enjoyed today.”
“It was great to have such amazing coaches/role-models for our girls. A lot of the camps we go to are dominated by boys, it was a great change to have it just with girls and such an amazing coach/teacher/mentor in Jamie.”