From the time we started the academy in 2000, our mission has been to teach our youth how sports can make them healthier and better able to handle the various environmental and societal difficulties they may encounter in their lives. We believe that having a strong body will help our youth maintain a healthy mind and spirit as they face the daily challenges of modern life, whether that is drugs and alcohol, obesity, the constant attraction of social media, or the dangers we are facing with the COVID pandemic.
As I watched my own children address the stresses that affect our youth and learn to face these hurdles on their own, I saw how important it is for young people to develop the maturity and skills to learn how to tackle these problems with proper guidance. It was this realization that made me decide to organize international basketball camps in Italy and Slovenia. One of my goals was to stimulate the curiosity of these young adults to learn more about each other and the world, and in doing so, to fight against xenophobia.
The biggest drawback to these basketball camps was that they were only for one week. While we saw very good results from this one-week camp, I realized that I could get the best results if I could mentor and coach young people throughout the year and not just for one week. Having a full-time academy will give me the time to share my personal development and learnings with them and also give them the opportunity to find their life’s path based on their own experiences.
My wife, my colleagues, and I are proud of our accomplishments in mentoring young people to help them realize their potential and pursue their dreams for careers in professional sports or in other pursuits such as medicine, teaching, journalism, or business. But we know we can do so much more if we could reach these young people 365 days a year.
Our goal is to establish a full-time academy nationwide in Italy within the next three years and to expand the academy internationally within five years. We believe that through our mentoring and coaching, we can give the next generation a better future for themselves and all of us.