Continuing the ‘Experience of a Lifetime’

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The Yonsei Basketball Association continues to provide a cultural exchange program for middle school-aged youth, and has announced its latest teams.

Now in its 27th year, the program strives to provide an opportunity to explore Japanese culture through home-stay experiences, community service opportunities, leadership and team camaraderie, and basketball and interpersonal skill development.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Yonsei 27 team will be traveling next summer to Kochi, Japan. The members of the team will home-stay with families in Kochi and travel together touring historical sites in Japan. Coaching the Yonsei 27 girls are Lindsey Sotero and Alysa Ito, while Garrett Ohara and Andrew Shigemasa will head the boys’ team.

The members of the Yonsei 27 teams are Izzie Chan, Lindsey Kadonaga, Ashley Minei, Talia Miyamoto, Reese Morio, Hailey Morita, Hayley Mu­kai, Michaela Okuyama, Morgan Seshiki, Kira Watanabe, Alison Yamada, Malia Yu, Manu Akiyama, Lucas Chow, Erik Eng, Ryan Fujitani, Jayden Ikeda, Maddox Kiyohara, Kai Kobata, Ryan Niimi, Wade Ohashi, Jaxon Seki, Chase A. Wada and Chase M. Wada.

In following guidelines for social distancing, the players and parents have been taking part in virtual meetings, Japanese culture training and physical fitness challenges. Practices and meetings will resume once it is safe to hold activities. Fundraising efforts are already underway, as each player must raise funds through T-shirt and raffle ticket sales.

The Yonsei Basketball Association is a nonprofit organization. Its Board of Directors consists of volunteers whose focus is to enrich those who take part in the program, as well as those that touch the program via other avenues. All in all, the hope of the Board is to enrich the youth in keeping the Japanese traditions alive, as well as encourage leadership.

Upcoming 2020 Yonsei events include informational meetings for future Yonsei players and a virtual basketball clinic.

The Yonsei Golf Tournament, another means to raise funds for the program, has been postponed until further notice. The team is asking for your support, in the way of donations for a silent auction, raffle prizes, etc. If you are interested in supporting their efforts, please contact Yonsei. Visit www.yonseibasketball.org for more information.

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