The Dutch county Gelderland has lots of basketball teams. What makes each basketball team in this province special? Ine van der Fels-Klerx will tell us more about Pluto, located in Wageningen.
Pluto Wageningen was founded in 1972, so it exists for almost 50 years. Since 2,5 years Ine is one of the board members. “Pluto wants to make basketball possible for everyone, for our senior members and our youth. We also want to create a great atmosphere within our organization.
However, it wasn’t always easy for Pluto,” as Ine continues. “We had to face some difficult times. For a long time, we had a steady men team that played in the Eerste Divisie. Around 2015, that team fell apart, and many of our men members quit playing basketball Changes were necessary. By that time, I first joined Pluto. From there, we started to add new members. We first began to look at the under 10 years old teams, so many of their parents could join us as volunteers for our organization.”
The amount of members has grown
When an organization tends to fall apart, you always need to look for causes and remedies. Pluto needed to have a lot of time to gather new members. “Each year we organize a tournament for all elementary schools in Wageningen. After that, all children can practice at our organization for free for a limited time. That is one of our ideas to welcome our new members. In the past couple of years, we had about 20 new members. So right now we have around active 150 members and 9 basketball teams.”
As said before, one of the goals of Pluto is to make basketball possible for everyone who can. Of course, there is more. “I am most proud of the way we have stayed a cozy and open minded organization for almost 50 years. It is great that we made that possible for such a long time. We also want to bring our men and women teams to a higher level. Our youth teams should be pretty much filled with lots of talent, so they can start from the bottom to a next level each season. In order to fulfill those goals, we need to have a good and steady development program in place”
Those goals and facilities do have visible results. Dutch international Jito Kok used to play at Pluto Wageningen, and played at the United States, Greece, Estonia, Spain, used to play at Dutch Windmills Dordrecht and will play Kangoeroes Basket in Mechelen next season. Is there more what makes Pluto special? Of course Ine can explain. “We have our own training facility, which is a great luxury. You can come and practice whenever you want. So if you live nearby Pluto, come and visit us!”