In the 4th year of our partnership with the nonprofit Heidelberg California Connect, Cameron House took the lead in organizing a trip for High School-aged young men to travel to Germany to play some basketball! From June 8th through 18th, our San Francisco Team experienced Germany through a unique combination of sports and culture. This was our fifth exchange – and the third team we’ve sent to Germany – in the past four years. The San Francisco Team had youth representatives from many different neighborhoods, high schools, and community centers, including: five youth from Cameron House (Tully Chan, Cody Ho, Jack Sampior, Jordan Wong, and Justin Wong), two youth from Richmond District Neighborhood Center (Devin Dador and Nelson Ly), and five youth from Booker T. Washington Neighborhood Center (Kendall Ireland-Tran, Jorim Powell, Xavier Silas, Jahli Simmons, and Khalil Smith).
This wonderfully diverse team of students represented San Francisco during their stay in Heidelberg, where they partnered with a German homestay host. While there, the team toured the city, attended a reception hosted by Heidelberg’s mayor, and of course, played some ball. The goal for Cameron House and Heidelberg California Connect is to use basketball as a means of bringing young people together and creating lasting, international friendships. In fact, many of our youth participants have continued to stay in contact with their host families!
Next year, we will host our new German friends at Cameron House with a full itinerary of activities that this year’s San Francisco Team will help host. In the past four years, the German Teams who have stayed at Cameron House have visited SRO’s (with the Chinatown Community Development Center), volunteered at BAP, and visited many popular tourist destinations.
This exchange allows our youth to see the world in an up-close and personal way, and allows German youth to see the real San Francisco – both its beauty and its challenges. Through this program different cultures have been welcomed, friendships have been formed, and perspectives have been forever changed. It doesn’t get much better than that.