Harlem Ambassadors to bounce in Grinnell

Get ready for tip off! The Harlem Ambassadors Basketball Show will be held in Grinnell’s Darby Gym on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds from the event will be given to Galaxy Youth Programs to support its mission of working with area youth.

Galaxy Youth Programs is a non-profit organization serving Poweshiek County that seeks to create more engaged and well-rounded youth.

“Our mission is to provide a safe place for kids after school,” said Assistant Director Carolynn McCormick. Galaxy works after school with kids from kindergarten through eighth grade.

“For the young kids, it’s about helping their parents and the families with afterschool care,” McCormick said. “For the older kids, the hours after school are when they’re more likely to get into activities that could eventually get them into trouble.”

The Harlem Ambassadors are a travelling show that blends basketball and comedy into a hilarious family-friendly spectacle. The Ambassadors, whose routine is similar to that of the Harlem Globetrotters, travel around the world raising money for non-profit programs in various communities.

The show thrives on its interactive and family-friendly approach. Children in the crowd are often selected to sit on the Harlem Ambassadors bench and even get in on some of the huddles. Games are played between the Harlem Ambassadors and a team recruited from the surrounding community.

Each player on the community team must be sponsored by an organization in order to participate. Grinnell’s Galaxy Youth Programs facilitates the linking up of local players with its sponsors.

“We look for people that the community would know, that kids would recognize and that people would want to come to see play,” McCormick said. “That’s been very easy, people are very interested in being on the community team.”

Sponsors can pledge either 495 dollars, 990 dollars or 1,980 dollars to the organization to help provide after school programming utilizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities for schoolchildren in Grinnell and surrounding communities.

Tickets for the show are being sold around town at Brown’s Shoe Fit, Sports Page, Hy-Vee and Pizza Ranch as well as at the door. The show will begin with a pregame warm-up in which both teams and all sponsors are announced. After a competitive first half is played, there will be a halftime show, followed by the second half and then a period in which the audience can get autographs from several of the players.

This is the first time the Ambassadors have chosen to stop in the town of Grinnell.

“Galaxy uses a lot of fundraising out of necessity, and there’s been several fundraisers in the past that we’ve done over and over again … So we wanted to do a fundraiser that was new and was definitely a very family-focused event,”  McCormick said.

With the tagline “It’s not your grandfather’s basketball show,” the program promises to be fun, exciting and engaging to its audience.

Anyone interested in buying tickets early or being on the community team can contact Galaxy Youth Programs at galaxy@iowatelecom.net.