On Saturday, December 14, the Arizona Lady Wolfpack, an all-girls club basketball team, traveled to Phoenix Children’s Hospital to donate 120 stuffed animals to children who needed a friend. This is the first of many events at which the Arizona Lady Wolfpack will be giving back to the community in hopes of gaining more sponsors.
Arizona Lady Wolfpack was founded in 2012 by Kim Zahne and Ron Campton as a way to further basketball fundamentals for girls who want to grow and excel at the sport of basketball. They soon gained another coach, Kyronna Roanhorse, and realized that a group of 7- to 12-year-old girls from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, Lehi Branch, worked harder than anyone else on the court, in practice and in games. These girls were pulled together to form the Arizona Lady Wolfpack, a club team that has grown to 21 girls, 10 of whom are members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
“The team is looking for sponsors, and this is a way to help open up the doors. Right now, [Campton] funds everything himself, like paying for tournaments, using all his own money,” said Sarah Achin, a mother of two girls on the team.
The Lady Wolfpack strives to help the girls grow not only as athletes on the basketball court, but also as students in the classroom and active members of their communities. The team plays across the Valley in different tournaments, and each girl brings a different talent to the court.
“We want our girls to develop not only leadership skills, but a sense of character and giving back to their community, which gives to them. It’s nothing but love and support with our team. With our girls, we basically just took raw talent and developed them into the best players they can be. They also cannot play if they aren’t passing [in school],” said Zahne.
“This event is [a way to show] the kids to give back to the kids that are sick and in the hospital. Campton wants his girls to participate in a lot of fundraisers so they can get used to the way they’re going to be raising money [in the future]. For example, the girls had to do chores, like vacuuming for grandma, or ask people for donations. He leaves it up to every girl to raise their own money,” said Achin.
In the weeks leading up to this event, the players and their families accumulated enough money to fund a total of 120 stuffed animals. The stuffed animals were donated to the children in the hospital, who might need a friend by their side during tough times. At Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the Lady Wolfpack players, coaches and family members were present to show their respect and give support to this great cause.
“This [event] was amazing. None of these kids ever got to see a sick child [before]. When we were waiting in the lobby, a lot of them were in awe of what they saw and what was going on. For them to know that they were giving stuffed animals to the kids who were hurting was a good feeling. The girls know that the hard work they put into gathering all these stuffed animals is going to go to a child who needs love and entertainment while they’re sitting in bed,” said Achin.
“It was very cool to come here with my whole team and donate teddy bears to little children who need it. I was glad that my coaches were here and that they take the time to teach us how to play basketball,” said player and Community member Daycee Achin, 12.
“I was happy that our whole team was here to give teddy bears to sick kids,” said player and Community member Nyese Jones, 10. Jones also thanked her coach for teaching the girls to play better basketball.
“This was awesome because we gave the kids toys when they needed it,” said player and Community member Mieve Kochampanasken, 11.
The smiles alone lit up the rooms as the children received their stuffed animals. They were very excited, and their reactions will be etched in the Lady Wolfpack’s minds. This was uplifting to the entire team and Phoenix Children’s Hospital has expressed their appreciation for what the Lady Wolfpack had done.
For more information about the Arizona Lady Wolfpack call coach Ron Campton at (480) 397-0605 or visit the team website at http://azladywolfpack.doodlekit.com/home/index.