By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
PREPARING to host its eighth annual basketball tournament, HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) received a significant financial contribution from the Grand Bahama Power Company this week.
Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee and Peter Adderley of HOYTES commended the Power Company for continuing to support the programme over the past 11 years. This year, 36 teams will be participating in the tournament, which runs from June 5 to 8 and features 18 teams in Grand Bahama, three from Bimini, eight from Abaco and seven in Nassau.
“The acceptance of this tremendous contribution from the GBPC/EMERA is a wonderful occasion for the HOYTES,” Mr Adderley noted. “GB Power has been with the programme for many years and is committed to the positive development of the boys and girls that are a part of this programme.”
Mr Adderley indicated that HOYTES has been responsible for the development of many young people who have excelled at basketball and received college scholarships.
He noted that many have returned home as model citizens and are employed in the school system as educators. Some, he said, are also making an impact on the international level such as Buddy Hield, Yolett McPhee and Jonquel Jones, who are coaching college basketball.
“So many good basketball players who would have come from the Bahamas were a part of the HOYTES programme,” he added.
Philcher Grant-Farquharson, corporate communications officer at GBPC, said that giving back to the community is an important part of the company’s philosophy. “GBPC have enjoyed a long and good relationship with HOYTES and Coach Moon McPhee, who become mentors and provide something positive for youth.
“We recognise the impact that HOYTES has had on the community, not just building athletic ability, but also providing young people with a sense of pride and self confidence,” she said. “When we were approached to step up our sponsorship with HOYTES it seemed like the natural thing to do and we are pleased to give back in any way we can.”
“We are catering to children from ages five now, through 18,” Mr McPhee said, in an effort to increase participation in basketball at an early age. He would also like to increase participation of more girls in basketball. “We need more girls in the sport. We have only two girl teams registered and would like to see at least four teams compete this year.”
From the tournament, Mr McPhee said they will put together an all-star team to compete in Las Vegas.
He thanked the Power Company for its support over the years in helping the organisation to help young people. “HOYTES would like to thank them for having faith in us ... we appreciate corporate citizens like GBPC for what they are doing,” he said.
The contributions from their corporate partners will go toward improvements and expansion of the Moon McPhee Basketball Park. The current court is too small and unable to accommodate the 70 youth who play there. They want to install two more courts at the site.