HOOP-IT-UP is coming to new haven august 5th thru 7th for a full weekend of basketball, http://www.hoopitup.com/ music, competition and all around city fun.
I got the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with New Haven’s Youth Services Director, Jason Bartlett. We caught up on the city, its youth and the impact this worldwide event will have on this community. Our conversation was brief but informative.
UR/MS: How did Hoop It Up became involved with a city like new haven?
J.B: Around Jan 2014, I was looking for an event that kids can respect and identify with and can get the youth from all neighborhoods to participate, I was told about the concept of Hoop It Up, A three on three competition. I thought I can take that brand and market it around the whole city, finding that the best location would be Church St. in front of City Hall. Such a place is mutual for kids and people in general to meet together and all [can] be a community.
UR/MS: Is this catered to our inner city kids mostly?
J.B: Yes but other communities such as Bridgeport and Hartford has teamed up to make sure we provide something that can keep the urban youth together and safe. We are attempting to integrate kids of all genders and race, creating a fast pace environment for all teens giving them something other than their street or neighborhoods to identify with.
UR/MS: So what is one core reason why a kid around my age would be interested in participating?
J.B: I see kids really smiling and enjoying the game of basketball. It’s the summer and it hot outside, why not change the environment and give the community a weekend to actually enjoy it. The more people participate the more fun it is. If you’re one of the kids that plays ball in your local park. This is the event for you.
UR/MS: Should we look forward to any prizes or anything of that nature?
J.B: Yes, Whoever wins the New Haven tournament goes to a national tournament, paid for by the city itself, the first year we took 3 winning teams to Washington D.C, [and] unfortunately we did lose but last year we took our winners and actually won in all 3 brackets they were entered in.
UR/MS: I’ve heard there is more activities this year, other than basketball?
J.B: Yes we have The Green this year, and a concert will be provided by independent artist backed and produced by Ugly Radio.Net, Neon basketball at night and games for kids. Even if you’re not into basketball there will be enough to have a good time for the whole family.
UR/MS: What do you want to accomplish with bringing this event to our city?
J.B: I just hope it keeps on going, annually, around 10+ years. Every year we want to learn from the last and add more. Just more different things going on besides the tournament.
UR/MS: Is there anymore events sports-like or not, going on in the future?
J.B: Everyone should look out for The Escape drop in center for the youth, a hang out center with video games and helpful activities going towards the community, homeless youth that can stay, study halls and parties. Just a safe place for our youth.
After talking with Jason Bartlett I believe this is going to be an exciting event for your entire family. So get your team family and friends together and be on the Green Saturday August 6th, and Sunday August 7th for HOOP-IT-UP New Haven
Matt Santiago / Local Sports Highlight