The Women of Valor family

The Women of Valor Basketball Club is more than a sports club.

“Women of Valor is a family,” says club co-founder and coach, Cara Anderson-Linwood. “We create a setting where girls and young women can get the skills training that they need to develop in the sport, but there’s a lot of life lessons involved as well, such as dealing with adversity, or learning how to work under pressure and with other people you don’t necessarily know.”

The Women of Valor Basketball Club is the only all-female basketball club in the Cayman Islands. It caters to girls as young as age 5, right up to professional level. Founded in 2005, it has continually grown and currently consists of more than 100 members.

Saturday mornings at the Camana Bay Arts & Recreation Centre are when the "family" gets together for weekly practice. At one end of the gym, young pre-teens wait in line to practise shooting the basketball, while at the other end, their big sisters, already skilled in all the basic basketball moves, pass to one another and shoot with lightning speed. The drills highlight not only skill and dexterity, but also the bond that can come only from a lot of practice with team members.

But the Women of Valor Basketball Club is about more than just learning how to play basketball. Everything about the club is aimed at building strong, confident women. It is about learning how to make mistakes and bounce right back; about how to give something your very best shot even if you end up missing; and it's about trying and failing and trying again until you finally get it right.

The club is divided into several tiers of players and programmes. The Women of Valor Academy recruits girls ages 5 to 11 and introduces them to the fundamentals of basketball.

Then, the 12- to 17-year-old High School Afterschool Program progresses their skills. The club organises several trips for team members to take part in international tournaments each year, and also engages the young women in charity fundraising activities, as well as taking them on trips to see local attractions.

After high school, players are able to progress to the national women’s league basketball competition. Once players are in university, or finish university, they are also able to play on the alumni team. Essentially, once someone becomes a Woman of Valor, there is a system in place for them to be a Woman of Valor for life.

Dart sponsors the Women of Valor for several reasons, says Senior Brand Manager Marketing & Communications Kathy Jackson.

“At Dart, we believe sport plays an important role in youth development, promoting health and well-being, and fostering community spirit," she says. "Programmes like Women of Valor empower girls and women through healthy competition and active play, for the benefit of our entire community."

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This article appears in print in the May 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times, written by Christopher Tobutt

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