A Davenport church is giving kids the chance to learn basketball in an encouraging environment.

Coram Deo Bible Church hosts Upward Basketball every year. It’s a faith-based program that teaches kids the game from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Despite the ongoing pandemic shutting down a lot of youth sports, Upward Basketball at Coram Deo Bible Church in Davenport still has been able to provide young kids with an opportunity to learn the game along with life lessons.

“Upward is a basketball program for kindergarten – 5 years old – through fifth grade,” said Jonathan Kamper, Upward director. “They get to come, learn the fundamentals of basketball, learn how to be on a team and work together, and ultimately learn about Christ.” 

One aspect that Upward has brought to the table is creating a positive environment for the kids to learn the game without having to worry about making mistakes.

“It’s amazing how the coaches and the refs are really encouraging when they have to stop the game,” said Sara Siokos, mother of two of the basketball players. “They explain to them what’s going on and why they are stopping the game and restarting it and guiding them on what they need to do next.”   

Currently, there are 136 kids in the basketball league that includes 18 team. They all have a blast.

“I’m having a lot of fun and I’m glad we can do it with all of last year and this year. I’ve had a couple friendships that have lasted just from Upward, so I’ve had a bunch of friends here,” said 10-year-old basketball player Selah Lau.

Selah Lau is in her sixth and final year with Upward. What makes her last season a little extra-special is having her sister coach the team.

“Last year she was on a team opposite of me, so we got to have a little bit of sibling rivalry but coaching with her it’s really fun just to be able to coach her and be with her,” said Skya Lau, Selah’s sister and coach.

The game of basketball has really grown on Selah, who has helped her team in many ways: “Since I’m taller, I like getting the rebounds and then scoring for my team.”