"Making a social contribution to the city I live in. That means a lot to me." Adrie van Wonderen is an auditor at Rabobank, but also serves on the board of basketball club CrackerJacks in Amersfoort. What was first a small, inconspicuous club, has grown into one of the largest clubs in the Netherlands for 3x3 basketball.
Surprisingly, the tall Adrie does not play basketball himself. “Yes, I’m quite tall, but I don’t play myself. Never did either.” laughs Adrie. “I got into it when my children started playing basketball. In Amersfoort you automatically end up at Crackerjacks.”
It was a small, quiet club; besides training and playing matches, not much happened there. I thought that was a real pity. A sports club is a great place to develop not only in sports but also socially. You make friends there, and go do things together after the game.”
“That’s what I talked about with other parents during matches or training sessions. We all wanted our children to be able to look back on a fun time later on, a welcoming club, wonderful friendships. That was my motivation to volunteer to join the board, along with some other parents.”
How to start?
“We took the first steps together with Rabo Clubsupport. This is a Rabobank initiative that helps sports clubs with knowledge and support in all sorts of areas. When you want to make your clubhouse more sustainable or want to recruit sponsors, for example. We especially needed a clear plan for the future. Rabo Clubsupport helped us to put this vision on paper.”
“Our goal was focused on the community. How can we make this sport more visible outside and how can we involve the neighborhoods of Amersfoort? Everything came together in 3×3 basketball. In this form of basketball, two teams of three players each play against each other on a half court with one basket. And 3×3 basketball is played outside, on public basketball fields in your own neighborhood. The threshold for getting to know the game is much lower there than indoors.”
“With our plans under our belt, we went to the city council. They were enthusiastic: we were given an outdoor basketball court to manage and that’s where it all started!”
Where we’re at
“What started with one basketball court has now grown into four courts and a complete training program for young people. During the summer months we train small groups of young people on the basketball courts to become trainers: 3×3 leaders. They learn how to teach kids basketball, but also: how to involve young people in the game, how to get them to participate in the squares, and how to make them feel welcome. The 3×3 leaders are role models, who pass on their pleasure in basketball to others. The fact that we can offer this space and these opportunities to young people in the neighbourhood, motivates me enormously to continue my efforts.”
“Every time, exciting new initiatives arise. For example, we brightened up one of our courts with a work of art with the help of street art collective Concrete Canvas and the Amersfoort artist JipPiet. The young people who play basketball with us have also been involved in this. It gives them a sense of ownership, they like coming back to ‘their’ basketball court.”
“At Rabobank, you get the opportunity to make a social contribution locally. For me, it’s incredibly important to do that in the city where I live, in Amersfoort. I think that applies to many colleagues, hopefully I motivate them with the stories about my club. It would be nice if they use it as an inspiration to also do something for a sports club or other association in their own area.”
Do you have a tip for other clubs?
“Look into what people are capable of and make use of their talents. When we had a big event, the photographer was a parent who I knew liked to take pictures. And I asked someone with little knowledge of basketball but a lot of understanding of communications to join the technical committee.” It makes Adrie laugh. “The technical committee arranges trainers, for example, but does not tell them how things work in the club. It was nice for her to be able to respond to that. It was a golden move.”