Alaska believes that sports play an important role in instilling the value of discipline, hard work, team work and determination among the youth. These fundamental values develop character and are necessary attributes for success as much as good health and proper nutrition. Alaska’s Sports Development Program, through the ALASKA POWER CAMP, is a vehicle to get the youth to develop their skills in volleyball, basketball, football and karting. The Alaska Power Camp has been cited and recognized by the Philippine Sportwriters’ Association for its outstanding contribution to youth sports and development in the country, particularly on the grass-roots level.
Visit the Alaska Powercamp website.
Basketball Power Camp
Former basketball superstar Jojo Lastimosa said that since its start fifteen years ago, more than 5,000 boys ranging from five to fourteen years of age have participated in the program. Two modules are conducted during the summer break and one during the semestral break. Each module runs for eight days and consists of a training clinic for three skill levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Kids are grouped by skill levels and not by age, because some young kids display advanced basketball skills for their age.
Former varsity players serve as assistant coaches who train the kids using four courts at the Ateneo campus in Quezon City. Tryouts are conducted on the first training day, determining skill levels, then ten to fifteen kids are assigned to each coach. The kids are a joy to watch while they play. Even parents who watch the training sessions are involved as they cheer on their wards and sometimes even participate in the drills themselves.
Soccer Power Camp
Tomas Lozano, a Spanish national and long-term resident of the Philippines, has a lot to say about his passion – soccer. Joaqui Trillo introduced the gentleman as a former Real Madrid player, to which he quickly and humbly retorted, “I wasn’t a star player, though.” A great part of his life has been spent in developing soccer in our country, through his affiliations with schools and clubs, and as project director of the Alaska Soccer Power Camp.
Since 1997 over 3,000 kids have trained in the summer camp, which accepts kids as young as three years old, as soon as he can kick a ball. Every summer, they go twice a week to three different venues: the Army/Ascom Field at Fort Bonifacio, the Alabang Country Club fields in Muntinlupa, and the Nomads Field, Merville Park Subdivision in Parañaque. In addition, a special summer clinic is held free of charge for dependents of Army/Ascom officers and soldiers. The summer culminates in a football festival where over 800 participants compete in a tournament.
In November a large number of football players and enthusiasts gather to pit their skills against each other in the Alaska Cup, a tournament patterned after the Gothia Cup, the world’s biggest football event in terms of number of participants. Over 3,000 football players compete in twelve age brackets, from kids to adults, on 22 mini-football fields at the Alabang Country Club. Through its eleven years of existence, this annual event has drawn more than 25,000 players. Makes one wonder why, with so many enthusiasts, the state of local football suffers in comparison to most other countries.
Joaqui Trillo, Jojo Lastimosa, and Tomas Lozano were in complete agreement in their belief that a team sport teaches kids how to interact with other kids. Teamwork and hard work instill discipline and these values serve them well as they grow older and face challenges in the world, helping make them stronger and healthier individuals. In addition, this keeps them away from mischief, the use of drugs, and other evils.
I asked Mr. Trillo how his company benefits from the program. He answered, “Of course, we would hope that the program will boost sales for our company, but more importantly, we are just happy that we contribute in nation-building through discipline and well-rounded individuals with sound mind and sound body. Our President and COO Wilfred Steven Uytengsu is our staunchest proponent of being a well-rounded individual. He is a health buff and a tri-athlete champion.”
Success and Recognition
The number of participants wanting to join the Alaska Power Camps is a quantifiable measure of the program’s success. What is more fulfilling is when you see so many smiling and laughing children enjoying the training and the competition. Alaska is quite proud of the fact that the program has been cited by the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association for its outstanding contribution to youth and sports development in the country, particularly on the grassroots level.
As regards the future, Mr. Trillo says, “We want to go regional and invite some Asian teams to join our very successful Alaska Football Cup held every November. We hope that this will also bring back interest, which Philippine football needs so much. After all, this is a sport tailor-made for us Filipinos.”