• Learning to Dance

    October 1st 2015. Volunteer coach, Emily Spring, details our first week back in Medellín, Colombia exploring new potential partners and building on our strong relationship with Grupo Internacional de Paz. 

    Our first week in Colombia was full of surprises. On Monday, based on the recommendation of our partner Grupo Internacional de Paz, we met with the directors of Cosdecol – a non-profit committed to organizing futbol teams for children living in communities scattered throughout the mountains in Medellín. Later that day, we received a schedule of trainings held by about seven coaches and assistants from Cosdecol. We were told we would visit their teams throughout the week. We didn’t know exactly what this visit entailed so, as we developed a plan for the week, we turned to Rubén’s simple advice: “We will dance.”

    And dance we did. We danced when we arrived on Tuesday morning and created a complete training session. We danced when one community’s problems of racism changed the conversation we were having with a group of children. During our free time, we danced atop mountains and in the metro. We danced when another conversation brought to light issues of gang violence and drug addiction. And by the end of the week, the four of us even learned to salsa.

    Learning to dance challenged us to embrace the unknown. It challenged us to listen and react accordingly. It challenged us to adapt our ideas and games to better impact a new situation. Perhaps most importantly, it challenged us to become the self-directed learners we always challenge our participants to become.

    We learned that we can never come into a training fully prepared, knowing exactly how kids will react to games or in which direction a conversation will go. Instead, we prepared ourselves with new dance steps and new ideas. And by the end of the week, we all learned that everyone wins when we’re dancing.