St. Camillus / St. Virgilius Mini Basketball Program Ends Another Great Year


Another successful St. Camillus / St. Virgilius Mini basketball season has come to an end.  The league runs from mid-November through early February.  The Mini basketball program is divided into two divisions: kindergarten through 1st grade, and children in the 2nd grade.  This year we had more than 140 players participating in this league. 

The K-1 program is a wonderful program that is tremendous fun for everyone involved.  Children at this age can really teach us all a lesson about how the game should be played.  They play hard, but they never lose the joy that should come along with playing the game.  If you come and watch these children play you will find yourself continually sitting there and smiling.  The crowd is loud and excited and happily cheers for everyone.  Whenever a player scores, it seems like the first thing they all do is look over to the sidelines to find their family members to share the excitement of the moment.  It’s wonderful to watch.  Nobody cares about the score.  They just want the kids to learn, and most importantly, to have fun.

Setting up a unique division for only the second graders was the brainchild of Jill Palisi who runs the Minis.  It turned out to be a great idea.  The second graders played using the regulation baskets (K-1 use the 8-foot baskets) and in their games the score was kept.  The children in this program got to play against children of their own age and ability and they really benefited.  They were able to really learn the game and be more prepared when they move up next year into our older league.  

This year, as always, we also ended the year with our Mini Olympics, which were held on February 11. This is probably the best day of the entire year.  For the K-1 division, several games are set up at different stations throughout the gym. The games at each station incorporate shooting, dribbling, and passing skills.  Each team goes to each station and gives it their best.  The gym is packed with players, coaches, parents and other fans cheering on all the children and constantly encouraging them.  At the end of the day everyone is a winner, and all the children receive trophies to commemorate their achievements for the year. Awards are also given out for the three teams that finish in the top three spots, and for the individual high scorers. For the 2nd grade division, we actually held playoffs, and they couldn’t have turned out better. The championship game was really fun to watch. Everybody in the packed gym was having a ball watching these kids play.  In the end, the winning team sneaked out a very closely contested victory.

Very special thanks need to go to Jill Palisi.  Without her there could not have been a league.  She takes her responsibility for this program very seriously.  She was in the gym every Saturday morning for about five hours.  She is totally enthusiastic about the program and is constantly instituting changes to make the program better. 

Thank you to all the coaches and parents who volunteered their time to run the kitchen, and to help teach the children of our community about basketball, and some of the important life lessons that are learned by playing a team game.  Finally, the last thank you always goes to Father Ahlemeyer.  He is the foundation of the program and without his consistent enthusiastic support we would not have the ability to provide this wonderful experience to all of these children.  If you weren’t part of the fun this year, please come down and join us next year.

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