experience trips (ages 16-24)
Those who demonstrate commitment and leadership capability with Beyond the Ball participate in experience trips. These may vary from weekend rides to participate in basketball tournaments to weeklong trips to other cities.
Part of the value of a tip is simply experiencing a new place. For many Beyond the Ball participants, the world consists mostly of a few blocks in Chicago. By visiting other places, they learn about opportunities and career options they previously did not know existed. They become less fearful of the larger, unknown world. They get a better sense of what it would take to achieve their goals.
Getting out of their familiar environment also allows for time to simply talk about life. What dreams or goals do you have? How do you think you can accomplish them? Why are those things important to you?
These trips are where some of the deeper mentoring takes place between staff and participants in Beyond the Ball.
looking for ideas
There are, of course, practical purposes for experience trips as well. By visiting the famous street tournaments of places like Rucker Park in New York City, new ideas are formed that help improve what we do in Chicago. Beyond the Ball staff actively seeks participant input on what could be incorporated into our own programs.
New networks are formed with other programs similar to Beyond the Ball, and participants are able to learn from the experiences of others. For example, on a recent trip to New York City, we visited street ball legend Pee Wee Kirkland's School of Skillz, and Kirkland himself took time to address each one of our youth.