Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé’s boys basketball coach Robert Casperson walks on Oracle Field during Strike Out Violence day. (Courtesy Photo | Chad Bentz)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé’s boys basketball coach Robert Casperson walks on Oracle Field during Strike Out Violence day. (Courtesy Photo | Chad Bentz)

Basketball coach recognized for violence prevention efforts

Robert Casperson honored at Strike Out Violence baseball game

A local high school coach was recently honored for his efforts to prevent violence.

Robert Casperson, the eight-year head coach of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé’s boys basketball team, received a certificate of recognition by Futures Without Violence prior to the San Francisco Giants’ home game last Sunday at Oracle Park. The baseball outing doubled as Strike Out Violence Day, and FWV used the occasion to highlight a leader of its Coaching Boys Into Men program.

“It was such a shock, and I told them I was only willing to go down and accept this award on behalf of all the great coaches in Alaska who are implementing CBIM and also the people at the state level that bring the trainings to us,” Casperson said.

This was the 21st time the Giants have hosted the Strike Out Violence event, according to FWV program manager Yesenia Gorbea Zuffanelli, who oversees CBIM across the country.

“Each year it’s important for us to bring awareness to folks in the world or in our community of San Francisco around domestic violence and sexual violence,” Gorbea Zuffanelli said. “Each Strike Out Violence event, we highlight a coach that is doing amazing work with the athletes to prevent violence in that respect.”

CBIM is an evidence-based program based on the belief that if men are supported as role models, they will use their influence as fathers, educators, coaches and policymakers to stand up for respect and non-violence in their communities. It teaches young athletes how to have healthy relationships, and promote the role men have in the movement to end violence against women and girls.

Ann Rausch, Program Coordinator at the Alaska Department of Public Safety’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said program began in Juneau around 2010. It was introduced first at Thunder Mountain High School. Casperson started implementing the violence prevention program in 2012, and teaches lessons to his team weekly or biweekly. There are over a dozen other Alaska teams that implement CBIM, Rausch said.

“We’re trying to give them a plan for a situation so they have a chance they can be successful in it,” Casperson said. “We talk about how they can react if they see bullying going on, to be an upstander instead of just a bystander.”

Casperson helped lead a CBIM training in Juneau this spring. During the training, JDHS basketball players volunteered on a discussion panel to talk about the program’s impact on them. Casperson said player panels have a chance to drive the program forward.

“I truly think that’s one of the most influential things we can do is bringing these kids up in front of the adults and letting them see how this program has had an impact on their lives,” Casperson said.

“Our athletes are very visible members of our school community,” he added, “and if they’re working to be a positive influence in our school, that’s going to make a difference on our school culture and climate, that’s also going to make a difference on our community culture and climate. The good behavior becomes infectious and it spreads.”

Prior to going on the field, Casperson and former Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt spoke at a FWV gathering inside the stadium on violence prevention work.

“It was a powerful thing to be a part of, to be completely honest,” Casperson said. “To see that many like-minded individuals in a room discussing the progress that’s been made but (also) the fact that more work needs to be done.”

A 2015 University of Alaska Anchorage study found half of all Alaska women — over 130,000 individuals — have experienced violence in their lifetimes.

“I would really love it if all the male teams can participate in it and I plan to implement it more in the baseball program,” JDHS athletic director Chad Bentz said. “He has it down and the players know — they expect to be in that program and they enjoy it at the same time.”

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.

More in Sports

Senior assistant captain Anna Dale attempts to stuff the net during a home game between Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears Varsity hockey team and the Kenai Central Kardinals at the Treadwell Arena Saturday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Crimson Bears topple Kardinals on home ice

The team won with a score of 4-2

This combination photo shows all five division-winning teams from the recent 3v3 Pre-Season Tournament at Thunder Mountain High School. (Upper left) Team 7, (upper right) Hoopsters, (lower left) 3 Amigos; (lower center) Lucky Ladies and (lower right) 3 of a Kind. (Courtesy Photos)
3v3 Tournament crowns division winners

Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball and Hooprats recently hosted the 13th… Continue reading

Matthew Wendel, Mike Kreis, Kasey Watts, Courtney Kreis, Tami Wahto and Todd Schur wore costumes during the 2021 Turkey Trot. Why’d they wear costumes? “Why not?” asked Schur. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Strut your speed at upcoming annual Turkey Trot

Stuff the starting line Thanksgiving morning

Bree Lee Lo, June Enele, Lemoe Eneliko and Moira Anemia pose for a photo taken by Alexandra and Barron Anemia. All were on hand to celebrate Samoa's Rugby League World Cup run. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Local rugby fans celebrate Samoa’s World Cup run

“Win our lose, we’re still proud.”

Glacier Swim Club finds success in Petersburg

Twenty Juneau students competed in the November swim meet hosted in Petersburg over the weekend.

The 2022-23 Thunder Mountain girls varsity volleyball team poses for a group photo during 2022 3A/4A Volleyball State Championships in Anchorage on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 10 and 11. (Courtesy Photo / Julie Herman)
TMHS volleyball wraps up stellar season

Falcons fall short of finals at State tournament

TMHS stands for team photo after state tournament at Bartlett High School in Anchorage on Saturday, Nov. 5. (Courtesy Photo / Josiah Loseby)
Juneau swim teams make a splash at state championship

“We all performed well and we all had a good time.”

Juneau Skating Club Forget-Me-Not team featured in last year’s spring event. The team is traveling to Irvine, California to compete in the Glacier Falls Classic on Saturday, Nov. 12. (Courtesy Photo / Kim Hort)
Forget-Me-Not skaters return to California

Juneau Skating Club team competes in Glacier Fall Classic.

Thunder Mountain girls varsity volleyball team celebrating their championship victory against JDHS on Saturday, Nov. 5. TMHS now heads to the state tournament in Anchorage to face Colony in the first round on Thursday, Nov. 10. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
TMHS volleyball team advances to state tournament

Falcons will take on Colony in Anchorage Nov. 11

Large crowds turned out to support high school swimmers through Alaska at the Region V meet on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28, 29 at in Juneau at Dimond Park Aquatic Center. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Prep swim teams score big at Region V meet

TMHS and JDHS swim teams score big at Region V meet

JDHS junior Mila Hargrave winds up to spike the ball while TMHS junior Ashlyn Gates attempts to deflect it. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Volleyball wraps up regular season

Region tournament set for Nov. 4 and Nov. 5