Twenty Montana participants -- approximately 10-12 professionals and 8-10 students -- will be selected to travel to El Salvador from July 15-23, 2018, to participate in a basketball exchange with Salvadoran youth and adults. All expenses are paid for by the U.S. Department of State via a grant to the Mansfield Center.  This eight-day exchange will use basketball as a medium to engage at-risk youth and adult sports mentors.  The focus of activities will be on leadership and teamwork in order to build resilience and life skills. This exchange is part of a larger effort to encourage at-risk youth to stay in school and build pathways to economic security.  

Montana participants will then host 22 youth and adult participants from Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) in April 2019. Montana participants will be expected to lead particular sessions and activities focused on basketball and youth development during this 13-day exchange.

Professionals Participant Selection Criteria:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Montana resident
  • Proficiency in basketball is not essential. We are seeking those with a willingness to participate in an exchange using basketball as a medium with the following background. Therefore, criteria includes one of the following key elements:  experience playing basketball as a hobby OR using sport to work with youth OR experience in coaching or participating in basketball and other sports
  • Have significant engagement in youth: though coaching, teaching, mentoring, counseling, etc.
  • Interest in assisting youth to become productive and responsible members of society
  • Ability to enthusiastically support teenage participants and adult peers
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and open-mindedness
  • Interest in international affairs and cultural exchange
  • Strong leadership, teamwork, and communication skills
  • Plans to remain in position of influence on young leaders (professional or volunteer)

Desired Professionals Participant Traits:

  • Background in coaching or sports training, specifically in basketball. Please note that not all adult participants will have basketball experience, but should be able and willing to learn to engage in basketball drills and activity.
  • Demonstrated international engagement experience (actual travel, supporting international visitors to the US, language study, etc)
  • Experience working with at-risk youth
  • Knowledge of youth development
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Spanish language skills or study

Applications are due April 15, 2018.