Help us Introduce the Sport to the Kingdom of Bhutan!
Be Part of Pickleball History by joining us as a volunteer or a contributor as we introduce the sport of Pickleball in the Kingdom of Bhutan where the game will be played at the highest elevations on Earth. The first-ever Pickleball rally was held in May 2023 at the airport in Paro Bhutan (elevation 7,218 ft) with Dynamite Doubles Pro Helle Sparre and Coach Puspalal Tendril from Paro Football Club.
“In May 2023, after arriving in Paro, Bhutan with my Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage group I was greeted by Coach Push, our supportive pickleball connection from Paro FC. After gifting him a new Selkirk paddle, we started the first pickleball rally ever in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Coach Push did so well even though he had never held a paddle in his hand. Pickleball is such a people unifier.”~Helle Sparre
“Our first stop on the pilgrimage was a weeklong retreat at the beautiful Druk Zangri Khamar temple at 8,200’ elevation. I had an incredible experience staying with a monastic family who lived close to the temple. Two cute boys were so curious about my stuff, things they had never seen before. Of course, the pickleball paddle came out and I showed them how it’s used. I had so much fun staying with them in their home for the week. I learned to live with cold running water, a few electrical outlets and a wood stove for heat. There were no tables or chairs. We sat on the floor to eat, drink and play. We were hitting the ball back and forth in the family bedroom - all 4 slept in there while I was there. This family showed me how to simply live and live simply with an open heart and mind.”~Helle Sparre
In 2021, the idea to bring pickleball to the Kingdom of Bhutan emerged in a conversation between Dotti Berry, aka Coach B, founder of Pickleball Unites and Kathleen Kiefer, founder of Bhutan Cultural Exchange. Bhutan is a small, landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas, and is known as one of the happiest places on earth.
Dotti has recruited a dynamic team of people to be part of this project:
- Helle Sparre, the founder of Dynamite Doubles,
- Seymour Rifkin, the founder of the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA ), Pickleball Hall of Fame, and World Pickleball Federation (WPF).
- Nancy Hosford, the founder of All In Youth Pickleball.
Kathleen is currently living in Bhutan. She sought and received an endorsement from the Bhutan Olympic Committee for the development of pickleball in the country. A group of pickleball players has formed a steering committee to guide the journey of introducing pickleball to Bhutan.
Our Bhutan collaborators are Paro FC and Woochu Sports Arena in Paro Bhutan. We are working closely with Puspalal Sharma (aka Coach Push), Technical Director of Paro Football Club and Woochu Sports Arena. Coach Push believes “pickleball can be a great sport for the Bhutanese people and can bring positive changes in their lives.”
Our first deadline is to raise $20,000 by the end of June 2023 to complete the construction of three courts at Woochu Sports Arena in Paro, Bhutan. Woochu Sports Arena is part of the Paro FC Sports Complex.
As a pickleball enthusiast, what better way to share your love of the sport than to spread the joy by helping us introduce Pickleball to the Kingdom of Bhutan? This also means introducing the sport to a location that will be the highest elevation on earth where Pickleball will be played.
We are sharing this rare opportunity for you to get involved by donating and helping spread the word about this campaign. All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of your donation helps with direct project costs, including building high-quality courts, training Bhutanese coaches, and hosting the Grand Opening event and secondary school exhibition in September 2023. Funds are also needed for paddles, shoes, nets and socks above and beyond what has been donated by Selkirk, Babolat, GearBox, Instadink and players like you!
For the cost of a new can of balls ($15), sports shirt ($25), hoodie ($50), two-hour lesson ($100), Selkirk Air Pro paddle ($250), or clinic ($500+), you can change lives through the sport you love. Our June 30th deadline is quickly approaching, please give back to the sport that has given you so much!
Tashi Delek (blessings) and may the immeasurable joy your support brings, return to you.
Click on the flyer below and contact us if you can donate new shoes, paddles, nets, or socks, and are interested in traveling with our group of volunteers in September.