BOGOTA, Colombia – Whittier College Head Men's Basketball Coach Mark Jensen recently returned from a trip to Bogota, Colombia where he conducted a week long basketball camp for over 150 children ranging in age from 7-17.
Whittier College alumnus Luis Turcios (2000) and former Poet teammate of Coach Jensen helped organize the camp at Escuela Corazonista located in the heart of the Colombian capital. Turcios, who now lives in Mexico, and has spent many years both coaching and organizing such camps in different parts of Latin America, invited Coach Jensen and Argentine coach Javier Orlandoni to be the primary instructors at the camp. Turcios, Jensen and Orlandoni spent the week coaching young athletes, giving clinics to local Colombian coaches and instructing the parents of the athletes on how to support their children and grow the sport of basketball in their country.
Coach Ruben Rojas heads the basketball program at the school and has a vision of increasing participation in basketball and improving the level of play by bringing in international coaches each year to the camp. "Coach Jensen, Coach Turcios and Coach Orlandoni have been a real blessing. We are trying to improve the level of basketball here in Colombia and their expertise and knowledge of the game, that they share so freely, has blessed the lives of our young people. We hope to have them back year after year", said Coach Rojas.
Coach Jensen said, "What Ruben is trying to do with the young and growing basketball community in Bogota is pretty special. Not only is he lifting the level of play with these camps, but he's educating local coaches too…it was great to be a part of. Colombia's a beautiful place, with genuinely good young people who are eager to learn the game, and giving back by putting on the camp was a joy for me…and being able to represent Whittier College in the process along with Coach Turcios made it that much more special."