The Yonsei Basketball Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 by a group of Southern California Japanese Americans interested in establishing a cultural exchange program for middle school-aged youth, using basketball as the vehicle. Today, the organization strives to provide eighth-grade boys and girls the opportunity to experience the Japanese heritage and cultural roots firsthand by coordinating their travel to prominent cities in Japan. Participants take part in a goodwill exchange by way of playing basketball and taking part in a home stay experience, learning and sharing the two cultures. As a result, lifelong friendships and experiences are developed.
Players and parents undergo a detailed selection process. Participants are selected for academic excellence, positive attitude, extracurricular activities, and sound basketball skills.
Program Components include:
- Cultural activities in preparation for the trip to Japan
- Cultural education to prepare for the home stay experience
- Basketball practices coached by high school-level coaches
- Fundraising and community service, all under a team atmosphere
The Yonsei experience highlights the importance of the Japanese culture, family values, and community participation. These experiences will surely play an important role in the development of the character in our youth. It’s an “experience of a lifetime!”