For the first time in three years, we hosted Centre Court, our outreach event through the Toronto Raptors. As “normal business” continues to evolve from the pandemic, many things changed as well in how Centre Court unfolded. When we finalized our plans with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), we had five weeks to promote and plan what now turned out to be a pre-game outreach event.

In total over 300 youth, leaders and families joined our pre-game event (which happened over seven hours before tip-off). We had a mixture of youth groups (both CBOQ and others), a Christian prep school and families join together. Overall, over half of our guests were able to participate in various activities on court (many walking away with prizes).

More importantly, Steve Kearns (co-chaplain of the Toronto Raptors) shared stories of how Jesus impacts the lives of players and coaches and gave his own word of encouragement. Herbie Kuhn (co-chaplain and public announcer for the Raptors) encouraged via video for all guests to expand their exploration of the Christian faith with one another.

We also shared Dare 2 Share’s video called “Life in 6 Words” by Propaganda.

We also received several stories of how groups gained from Centre Court.

Thanks a lot for the experience you gave me and my family. Now my friends are really interested in coming for any future events you guys might hold and it’s all thanks to you guys ✌🏾 I can’t wait for the next event you guys host, it’ll be plenty of fun and full of experiences as God continues to guide us throughout our lives. – Daniel T (via Instagram)

First Baptist Church in Ingersoll took a train in the morning and spent all day in downtown Toronto. A number of their group included friends who aren’t part of their church community. They came to the pre-game event, wandered the day all the way to Eaton Centre and finished with the Raptors game, all before catching their train that got them home well after midnight.

Check out their adventures through their Instagram account.

As we are a Christian Private School, our approach with the Centre Court Event was an expansion of not only reaching out to the youth students but also to their family members as well. We saw this to be a holistic opportunity to connect with the parents of our students so that it could build on teacher, student, and parent relationship – all in one… Through basketball, it also created opportunity for them to step out of their comfort zone, to be “embarrassed” together, and to have fun doing it.

– Kevin Eng, Cornerstone Montessori Prep School