By Josh Bronson

Pilot staff writer

The Y.O.U. (Youth Opportunities Unlimited) Foundation - formerly the Brookings-Harbor Youth Association - has set out to make basketball an enjoyable event for all ages.

With more than 300 children participating in the organization this year, the local gymnasium's have been full of bright faces and basketballs.

Youth from 5- to 13-years-old comprise 42 teams in the league - with volunteer coaches and sponsors to match.

The basic goal of the Y.O.U. Foundation is to teach children the fundamental building blocks of life through sport.

While the older basketball league - 8-to 13-year-olds - helps hone the basketball skills of the young athletes, the younger league - 5- to 7-year-olds - is all about acquainting the youngsters with the game of basketball.

andquot;Mainly, this league is designed to introduce the kids to the game,andquot; Cindi Beaman, member of the 5- to 7-year-olds' committee, said. andquot;It's mostly about having fun and learning the basic skills.andquot;

Community is a big part of the Y.O.U. Foundation and their goal.

The organization wants to provide a service for the youth of the area so they can, in return, give back to the community that opened up the opportunity to learn.

andquot;We're doing this for the kids,andquot; Heather Serna, another member of the 5- to 7-year-olds' committee, said. andquot;We just want to give something back to the community.andquot;

The 8- to 13-year-old group plays all day Saturday in the Kalmiopsis gym while the 5- to 7-year-olds fill the gym on Sundays.

Volunteers abound in this community-based organization.

The Y.O.U. Foundation board members are all volunteers and they rely on the help of others in the community to complete the education of the youth.

All coaches, sponsors, referees, scorekeepers and other helpers do so on a volunteer basis.

Members of the Brookings-Harbor High School boys and girls basketball programs also give back some of their time by helping out as referees and scorekeepers.

For more information about the Y.O.U. Foundation, visit their Web site at