Our mission is to introduce elementary school students in Rethymno and Western Crete to the game of basketball , and help in their character development through other activities and volunteerism. The kids enjoy this great game while building a bond with their community.
The Rethymno Cretan Kings basketball team represents the island of Crete in the Greek Basketball League, Greece’s professional league and one of the top league’s in Europe. Cretan Kings Assist is the team’s community outreach programme.
“Assist” gives children the chance to learn and play organized basketball and to join with us to do good things for themselves and their community. By playing their favourite sport with us at school, they become members of our family, a family made up kids, teachers, players, parents, high school and college students and all those who take part in our activities.
In the 6 years since “Assist” was established:
Cretan Kings Assist fosters a love of the game for girls and boys and helps build their identity as active members of society.
We organize and run an elementary school league for the public school system, bringing in an ever increasing number of schools every year.
Our coaches prepare teachers to run weekly practices in their schools with the aim of getting their respective teams ready for the Assist League. The League runs throughout the school year complete with uniforms, referees and medical support and culminates in our annual All Star Game, followed by a party in the Rethymno arena, where the children and players cook for the town. The games and the events develop and strengthen the relationship between the children, their teachers and the rest of the community – including parents, students, the church, the municipality and volunteers from other organizations.
Rethymno is in large part a traditional agricultural community. We have placed garden beds in all the schools that take part in Assist so that they can come closer to the land. With the motto “ I plant – I produce – I contribute”, the school children have a chance to learn how to farm vegetables, from seed to harvest. Their produce is then given to the soup kitchens of the church.
This initiative with the help of SYNKA supermarkets is aimed at guiding our children towards adopting a healthier diet. Childhood obesity is at epidemic proportions on our land, so together with our friends at SYN.KA supermarkets, we decided to try and gently nudge our kids in the right direction as regards thei eating habits.
We build and renovate courts in schools and other public spaces with the help of friends of the team and local businesses. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has played a key role in funding this initiatative.
We recognize the importance of learning English today and encouraging kids to do so at an early age. Taking full advantage of the American players on our team, we have arranged for school visits and a book reading and conversation.
We encourage you, the school child, to take part with us in one of the activities planned by the Cretan Kings.
First we’ll teach you the meaning of volunteerism. Eventually we would like you to commit to dedicating a few hours during the school year to an activity of your choice.
With the support of your parents you’ll get a chance to have a better understanding of what it takes to make a community work and to be part of that process.
The activities are organized in conjuction with other non – profit groups and the municipality of Rethymno.
The Cretan Kings are commited to being the most socially engaged basketball team in the country.