Bilingual basketball camp makes athletics accessible by removing language barriers – Columbia Gorge News

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Clear skies. Low 69F. Winds light and variable..
Clear skies. Low 69F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: July 28, 2022 @ 5:56 pm
Antonio Salinas shows a young camper how to shoot a basketball on July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary. Salinas is currently a guard for the Western Oregon mens basketball team.
Antonio Salinas le muestra a un joven campista cómo disparar una pelota de baloncesto el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary. Salinas es actualmente un guardia para el equipo de baloncesto masculino del oeste de Oregón.
Bilingual Básquetbol hosted kids ages 6-18 July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary in Odell.
Básquetbol bilingüe recibió a niños de 6 a 18 años el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary en Odell.
Ivan of the Last Hope Barbershop in Hood River made sure any kid who wanted a haircut received one free of charge.
Ivan de la barbería Last Hope en Hood River se aseguró de que cualquier niño que quisiera un corte de pelo recibiera uno de forma gratuita.
Bilingual Básquetbol hosted kids ages 6-18 July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary in Odell.
Básquetbol bilingüe recibió a niños de 6 a 18 años el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary en Odell.
Bilingual Básquetbol hosted kids ages 6-18 July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary in Odell.
Básquetbol bilingüe recibió a niños de 6 a 18 años el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary en Odell.
Bilingual Básquetbol hosted kids ages 6-18 July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary in Odell.
Básquetbol bilingüe recibió a niños de 6 a 18 años el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary en Odell.

Antonio Salinas shows a young camper how to shoot a basketball on July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary. Salinas is currently a guard for the Western Oregon mens basketball team.
Antonio Salinas le muestra a un joven campista cómo disparar una pelota de baloncesto el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary. Salinas es actualmente un guardia para el equipo de baloncesto masculino del oeste de Oregón.
NBA G-League Coach Mitch Thompson and his Bilingual Básquetbol program hosted its first camp outside of Irrigon on July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary.
Young athletes, ages 6-18, were invited to take part in a free, one-day clinic put on by Thompson and a handful of other experienced counselors. Adrian Romero played at Lewis and Clark College, Antonio Salinas currently plays at Western Oregon University, Danny Soto is a video coordinator with the Mexico City Capitanes — the newest NBA G-League team — and Anthony Landeros was coached by Thompson at Irrigon High School.
Bilingual Básquetbol hosted kids ages 6-18 July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary in Odell.
Básquetbol bilingüe recibió a niños de 6 a 18 años el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary en Odell.
Kids showed up at 9 a.m. and were greeted with a camp shirt, basketball, school supplies and a haircut. Ivan of the Last Hope Barbershop in Hood River made sure any kid who wanted a haircut received one free of charge.
The campers were put through dribbling, shooting, defense, and other drills — most of which were translated into Spanish.
“It means a lot to help out, especially coming from a Spanish-speaking community and knowing what it means to the young kids,” said Salinas who is from Zillah, Wash.
Ivan of the Last Hope Barbershop in Hood River made sure any kid who wanted a haircut received one free of charge.
Ivan de la barbería Last Hope en Hood River se aseguró de que cualquier niño que quisiera un corte de pelo recibiera uno de forma gratuita.
Kindergartners through third graders graced the outdoor courts from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. followed by fourth through sixth graders from noon to 2:30 p.m., and high school athletes were welcome, as well. But most importantly, Thompson wanted to make everyone feel comfortable attending the camp, even if English isn’t their first language.
“Demographically, oftentimes, youth sports are monolingual,” said Thompson. “And so, kids don’t participate at a rate they should because of environment. So, we wanted to create a basketball youth environment that’s more inclusive. And that’s kind of where it all started.”
Bilingual Básquetbol hosted kids ages 6-18 July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary in Odell.
Básquetbol bilingüe recibió a niños de 6 a 18 años el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary en Odell.
Thompson has seen it all as a basketball coach. He began as a middle school coach at Sandstone Middle School in Hermiston. He went to Oregon State University and served as a video producer for the men’s basketball team, but when head Coach Craig Robinson was fired, Thompson returned home to Eastern Oregon as the basketball coach at 2A Irrigon High School. In his first year, he led the Knights to a state championship, making the 23-year-old the youngest high school basketball coach in Oregon to ever win a state title.
Bilingual Básquetbol hosted kids ages 6-18 July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary in Odell.
Básquetbol bilingüe recibió a niños de 6 a 18 años el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary en Odell.
After a brief reunion with OSU as a graduate assistant, Thompson moved on to a player development position with the Milwaukee Bucks G-League team. In 2020 the National Basketball Association expanded its amateur teams with a new organization in Mexico City.
“You go from an established team that is competing for championships to a brand-new team,” said Thompson. “Latin America is the new frontier of basketball.”
Bilingual Básquetbol hosted kids ages 6-18 July 22 at Mid Valley Elementary in Odell.
Básquetbol bilingüe recibió a niños de 6 a 18 años el 22 de julio en Mid Valley Elementary en Odell.
Since Bilingual Básquetbol’s inception two years ago, Thompson and counselors have helped hundreds of young athletes across Oregon who may have not had a chance to play basketball because of language barriers.
For a Spanish version of this story, click HERE.
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