The PVI boys basketball program is a national powerhouse on the court that believes in assisting the community off of it.
For the last six years, head coach Glenn Farello and his Paul VI team have collaborated with the people of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation to facilitate the Northern Cheyenne Basketball Clinic (NCBC). As the focus is more than just hoops, each year Farello and others from PVI travel to the Montana reservation to help run the clinic designed to improve access to community service programs, including Tribal Wellness, Youth Leadership Development and Suicide Prevention.
While sharing stories of some of his favorite moments on the reservation, Farello alluded to PVI and the people of the Northern Cheyenne having formed a familial bond.
“They’re so welcoming,” said Farello. “They invited us into their homes and we really enjoyed that. Basketball brings us all together.”
At its core, the NCBC is designed to promote growth and development in all participants. PVI views their involvement as a cultural exchange; for as much as they give to the Northern Cheyenne in relation to promoting healthy lifestyles, they receive as much by way of the teachings of the tribe.
“We learn so much from our interactions with the Northern Cheyenne,” said PVI assistant coach Curtis Symonds. “I’m so thankful that we’ve built this relationship. It’s beneficial for their student athletes as well as ours. I hope it continues to grow.”
With a goal of expansion, Farello and Symonds began working with Lame Deer High School athletic director August “Tiger” Scalpcane with hopes of bringing Northern Cheyenne student athletes on a visit to the DMV. In late October, that goal became a reality when Scalpcane and four of his girls basketball players, Jordan Moon, Asia Two Moons, Destynee Two Moons and Mishayne Bearchum, made the trip.
“I feel this is beneficial for the young ladies to see what's off the reservation,” said Scalpcane. “Many of our student athletes haven’t had opportunities such as this, so it’s important for them to see all the opportunities they have off the reservation -- jobs, schooling -- and to see how the athletes off the reservation work together.”
While here, the young ladies of the Northern Cheyenne were able to practice with the PVI girls team, tour the nation’s capital and spend time at the Wizards and Mystics basketball facilities. The experience broadened their horizons while exceeding expectations.
“Traveling down the streets of Washington and Virginia, it felt like I was in a movie because I never expected myself to ever be this far away from home,” said Destynee Two Moons. “I was just living my best life.”
“It’s a really good experience because very few Native Americans get to come and see stuff like we’re seeing,” said Jordan Moon. “I’m just taking it all in because this is probably once in a lifetime for me.”
The clinic began in 2011 when then University of Maryland graduate students Joseph Kunkel and Alick Dearie led a summer-term design studio workshop at the Northern Cheyenne reservation for UMD’s school of Architecture Planning and Preservation.
All parties involve hope to continue to expand the NCBC to provide more opportunities for student athletes to travel.