Photo: Brieanna King along with team members from the Arizona Wranglers were at the inaugural basketball tournament
MATFORCE, a primary prevention organization focused on stopping youth drug use before it starts, partnered with the James Family Prescott YMCA, Town of Prescott Valley, and Dignity Health | Yavapai Regional Medical Center to host a 3-on-3 basketball tournament this past weekend at Mountain Valley Park in Prescott Valley.
The purpose of the event was twofold. First, it was to get outside and have fun; a friendly competition among friends and peers as well as a great way to stay healthy. The second was to engage the community with information surrounding the recent overdose deaths of 5 teenagers in our county involving counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl.
Vice Mayor Lori Hunt, with Prescott Valley Town Council, shared her concern about this deadly trend. “The trend of youth dying from a drug overdose was unheard of in our community until just a few years ago. But, in 2020 alone 5 teens died from an overdose involving counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. These are our children. The only way to stop this is to work together. I’m thankful for all of the organizations that came together for this event. We will continue to work together until this trend stops.”
With almost 150 players and spectators the day was filled with both fun and meaning. Winners from each age category include:
- 12U – High Flyers
- 14U – The 3 Amigos
- 17U – Get Good
- 18+ – Ninjas
Rachelle Skvarek, Associate Director of the James Family Prescott YMCA, expressed her excitement for all of the community involvement. “This was a group effort. The idea for a tournament came out of MATFORCE’s Prescott Valley Illegal Fentanyl Workgroup. The YMCA offered to host and staff the event. Dignity Health donated money for the t-shirts and prizes. The Town of Prescott Valley donated the location. And MATFORCE provided the food for the participants. There was so much community involvement to make this event happen.”
Along with the organizations mentioned above, the Arizona Wranglers showed up for an impromptu meet and greet; DJ Patti Cake donated an afternoon of music and fun; Penny’s Place cooked the meals for the participants; and numerous volunteers contributed their time to make the day a success.
MATFORCE is a community organization that educates and raises awareness about substance abuse issues, and advocates for policy change throughout Yavapai County. With over 300 active volunteers, MATFORCE encompasses the belief that stopping drug use before it starts through primary prevention strategies is an essential part of building healthier communities. Programs of MATFORCE include drug prevention education in the schools, the Yavapai Reentry Project, Trauma Lens Care, public awareness and education campaigns, and advocating for policy change at the state and local level. For more information about MATFORCE visit our website.