Shareholder Spotlight: Volunteers Make it Happen at FNA JOM Youth Basketball Tournament
The Fairbanks Native Association (FNA) Johnson O’Malley (JOM) program hosts its 19th annual Alaska Native youth basketball tournament March 12 – 14 at Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks. Each year, the event invites students in grades 3 – 12 from all over the Doyon region to participate. The tournament usually has about 300 participants, including volunteer coaches, scorekeepers, concession stand help, timekeepers, first aid support and youth basketball players.
The JOM program, managed by FNA, is a cultural program designed to meet the unique education needs of Native students in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Originally, the tournament was intended to give Fairbanks youth something fun and free to do during the busy week of meetings, including the Tanana Chiefs Conference convention, Doyon, Limited annual meeting of shareholders, and FNA’s annual meeting, which all take place in mid-March. However, it wasn’t long before requests from villages throughout the region started coming in, asking if their kids could also participate.
“As the tournament continues to grow, we are always looking for volunteers. Without people stepping up and volunteering, this could not happen the way it does,” stated Niki Guthrie, FNA program assistant. “The older students that were on teams at one time are now our volunteers.”
“Coaching youth teams in the JOM tourney is definitely my favorite volunteer event and I’ve been coaching in this tournament for over 10 years,” said volunteer coach, Willow Bowen.
“The JOM tournament is a really fun tournament to play in because I get to see all my friends from the villages, especially Tanana and Fort Yukon and all my friends from Fairbanks,” stated youth participant, Aysha Peter.
The deadline to apply to play or volunteer for the tournament is February 16, 2018. For questions or to get an application, please contact FNA JOM at 907-452-1648, ext. 6403.