Silver Spring Basketball Tourney 'Another Way' to Build Community
Organizers say the event helps curb youth crime.
What does basketball have to do with youth crime in Silver Spring?
"I think it's really good for young people to see there's another way to build community," Councilmember Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) told WTOP at the second annual "Audacity of Hoops," a free basketball tournament in downtown Silver Spring.
Organized by nonprofit IMPACT Silver Spring, the county's department of recreation and Ervin's office, the 3-on-3 game held Sept. 15 was part of the organization's greater community building strategy.
"We have witnessed how sports can serve as a powerful way to connect with isolated families in our community and bring folks together across lines of difference,” said Ronnie Galvin, director of IMPACT. The nonprofit has focused efforts on Silver Spring's Long Branch community in the past and plans to apply the same strategy to the Briggs Chaney neighborhood of Silver Spring.
Ervin told WTOP that "scary incidents" of youth violence were the impetus for the tournament. She didn't elaborate, but the Silver Spring area has been identified as a hotspot for crime by county police. A group of teens that fought in the streets of downtown Silver Spring sparked a county-wide debate about a youth curfew.
The second annual tournament (the first annual was back in October 2011) was the first to allow girls to form teams. Next year's event may extend participation to Prince George's and Howard Counties.