NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - (Jan. 29, 2019) (NNS) -- Three Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) volunteer as coaches for a basketball team in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Travon Cuffee, from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Antonio Worthen, from Riverdale, Georgia, and Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Rayjuan Horton, from San Diego, began coaching at the Camelot Community Center in early December 2018.
The Sailors belong to the ship’s aircraft intermediate maintenance department (AIMD), which provides intermediate level maintenance and component repair to aircraft and support equipment.
Cuffee hopes to give back to his community by mentoring the players he coaches.
“One of the reasons why I’m mentoring and coaching basketball is to keep kids off the streets and away from violence,” said Cuffee. “I’m just trying to keep the kids away from negative things like violence, drugs, and bad influences; basketball is a good way to do that.”
Cuffee said playing basketball in the Hampton Roads area kept him out of trouble growing up, and he wants to give that opportunity to local kids now.
While all three Sailors are passionate about mentorship, they realize the importance of the game as well.
“First things first, I love the game of basketball,” said Worthen. “Watching my mentor coach last year gave me the drive. I played with the Air Force traveling team for two years, so I felt the need to pass on the knowledge that I received over the years.”
With the season starting mid-January, the coaches want to ensure the players get an adequate amount of practice.
“We practice twice a week and have one game per week,” said Cuffee. “It’s an eight-week season, and we play multiple teams from different recreation centers throughout Chesapeake.”
Horton said he strives to teach the fundamentals of basketball and provide a positive impact on children’s lives.
“My favorite part about it is developing them into better basketball players,” said Cuffee. “It’s nice getting positive feedback from the parents and them telling me I’m doing a good job as a coach.”
In addition to coaching and mentoring, these Sailors understand the value of volunteering, and are reminded of that during each practice session and game.
“Volunteering is so important because the small time you give means the world to others,” said Horton.
Worthen noted the importance of volunteering his time with kids, stating that the youth is our future.
“Giving back to the community is the key to success,” he said.
While volunteering is a very positive thing on its own, Cuffee added that giving your time to something you love makes it even better.
“It’s great doing something that you’re passionate about, not just doing it because it’s a check in the box,” he said. “I love basketball, so it’s a win-win for me. I’m able to be around local kids that I can watch grow into better people.”
These AIMD Sailors plan to continue volunteering, coaching, and mentoring, both on and off the court, in the months to come.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.