A local 15-year-old has been given the opportunity of her young life by being invited to playing basketball in Australia this summer as part of Down Under Sports.
Kayla Clewley, a sophomore home schooled student, was invited to represent South Dakota on the South Dakota Central Conference Girls Basketball Team. Clewley, a 6-4 post player, recently finished her first year of varsity basketball for the Custer High School girls basketball team.
Clewley said she had to do a double take when she first learned of her selection to the team.
“I was just like, ‘Whoa, is this real? It was pretty cool,” she said.
Clewley, the daughter of Colt and Shanna Clewley, has never been outside the country and is looking forward to the nine-day trip in which she will be accompanied by a parent. Just which parent gets to enjoy the vacation hasn’t been decided yet.
“We haven’t discussed that quite yet,” Clewley said with a laugh.
Clewley will depart for Queensland, Australia July 10, but first must raise money to cover the cost of the trip, which is around $11,000. Included in that cost is round-trip airfare to Australia, a sightseeing tour in Brisbane, six nights of accommodations, two meals per day, transportation, a visit to a wildlife sanctuary, tour escorts, staff and security, an Australian visa and tournament gear and fees.
Once there, Clewley is guaranteed three full days of practices and two days of internation competition, along with a free day.
To that end, she hopes to receive donations toward the cost of competing down under.
Helping Clewley get to Australia can be done a few different ways, one of which is donating online at downundersports.com/pay
ment. Once there, donors can enter Clewley’s name as well as the amount of money they would like to donate. Checks can be written as well, and mailed to Down Under Sports, 1755 North 400 East #201, North Logan, UT 84341. Be sure to note the money is for Kayla Clewley South Dakota Girls Basketball.
Those who donate can fill out a thank you ticket that will enter them into a drawing for a trip for two to Australia and Hawaii and/or a subsequent drawing for a five-day cruise for two.
Clewley will also sell down under T-shirts to raise money, with most of the money for the $25 shirts going toward her expenses. Funds must be raised by June 2.
On her free day, Clewley said she is considering going skydiving, but isn’t quite sure. If she does it would make a perfect “Sweet 16” birthday present, as she will celebrate her 16th birthday while overseas.
With so much to look forward to, it’s hard for Clewley to decide on what she’s looking forward to most about the trip. Building confidence both as a person and as a basketball player on the top of the list, however.
So is something that any teenager would say when presented with this opportunity.
“I just really hope I have fun,” she said.
For more information, contact Down Under Sports at 435-753-4732 or text or leave a message for Shanna Clewley at 719-425-1224 for information to donate, or to order a T-shirt.