Stettler Wildcats senior girls’ basketball team fundraised and headed to Cuba to learn new skills as part of a cultural exchange.

Stettler Wildcats back from Cuba trip, awaits season to apply newly-acquired skills

Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus had their senior girls' basketball team head to Cuba to participate in a skills workshop...

Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus had their senior girls’ basketball team head to Cuba to participate in a skills workshop, from Dec. 14-21.

Even though fundraising started early, local businesses and organizations also chipped in to make the trip possible.

The group travelled as part of a cultural exchange, training and competition program, based in Havana.

According to Coach Kim Poapst, the program was specifically designed to provide coaches and athletes with a combination of competition and training in a warm climate and the opportunity to learn about the culture, history and people of Cuba.

Even though the girls had a great time each one had their own take on the trip.

While warmer climate and being able to go on a trip with friends was a highlight for some, for others it was playing basketball in a different environment, while for some others, being away from wireless and cellular service provided other avenues of interaction, giving them more face-to-face time with their teammates and friends.

All the girls learned a lot from their experience about the game – how important communication skills are, how to play aggressive without fouling, importance of being quick and controlled, communicating more verbally than through gestures, significance of screen and roll and how one needs to be as aggressive in the same measure their opponents are defensive.

All the players being in a different environment and in unfamiliar surroundings, even though they had each other for support, learnt a lot about themselves.

From discovering that they don’t like boat rides to how they can live simply, from being inspired to travel more to realize that trying new things can be fun, that life can be lived without cell phones on them all the time.

With basketball in full swing and the girls playing their first home game on Thursday, Jan. 12 against Lacombe, they are looking forward to apply all the skills they have learnt and make it count this season.

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