• A New Side of Sport for Sky Blue FC’s McKenzie Meehan

    December 13th 2018. CAC Global Citizen and Sky Blue FC playerMcKenzie Meehan writes about working with Naz Foundation in Delhi, India with CAC.

    Hi everyone!

    During my first week, we worked with the Naz Foundation, a great organization that seeks to empower young women through the power of play and opportunity to learn in partnership with CAC’s Education Outside the Classroom curriculum. Our primary focus was to work with the netball coaches who teach life skills to young girls at local government schools. Naz’s netball curriculum seeks to fulfill their four main goals: to Be Yourself, Be Empower, to Be Money Savvy, and to Be Healhty.

    Because Naz has been working with CAC over the past several years, the coaches were very familiar with the standard CAC games that bring about social change. Perhaps more importantly, it was clear that the coaches truly wanted to engage, teach and empower their players in a meaningful way. Therefore, our week with the coaches was focused on helping them develop the necessary skills to do this, without necessarily following a step-by-step guide in a written curriculum.

    After evaluating several coaches at local schools and understanding the challenges these coaches often face, we focused on two main areas. First, we wanted to help Naz expand the number of games in their curriculum, while showing them how each game can have several progressions and can be used to teach numerous social messages. Next, we challenged the coaches to problem solve, to use critical thinking, and to ask players important questions to initiate meaningful conversation about important issues.

    Ultimately, the goal was to focus on the development of the ‘master trainers’, trainers, and community sports coaches to enhance the impact of the program on all of the young girls. I was very impressed by all of the coaches, as they were incredibly energetic, confident and empowered young women (as well as a few men!). It was cool to see them grow more confident in their roles as the week went on.

    Apart from our on-field work with the Naz Foundation, we went to a football training session with young boys and girls run by an organization called Foot and Boot. Despite the sandy field, the kids had so much fun and it’s amazing to see how much they truly love playing. Another evening, we played pick-up soccer with some coaches from The Football Link, the organization we will be working with in Udaipur later this month.

    In terms of Delhi itself, there are over 20 million people in the city, so the traffic and noise is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Our taxi driver told us your need three things to be able to survive in Delhi: a good horn, good brakes, and good luck!

    We also squeezed in a bit of sight seeing – we walked by the India gate, the President’s House, and through the crowded, windy streets Old Delhi. Yesterday, we took a day trip to the city of Agra where we visited the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort, and the Tomb of Itimad ud Daulah; all three sites were even more beautiful than expected. The food here has also been great, although my mouth is usually on fire by the end of the meal!

    Looking forward to heading to Nagpur to work with Slum Soccer – thanks for following along!

     

     

  • The Best Thing About CAC

    November 7th 2017. CAC Self-Directed Learning Coach and Social Media Strategist Ashlyn Hardie blogged from Delhi, India where we worked with The Football Link and Foot & Boot

    If you are a regular follower of Coaches Across Continents then you have probably seen our “Best Thing” photos. That’s my job. My job is to ask our partners, and participants – “What do you think the best thing about CAC is?”, and “What did you learn most from this experience?”. Then I share that information with everyone who supports us through our Social Media and Marketing platforms. I spend time every week reading what other people think is the best thing about CAC. But not until this week, not until right now, as I sit down on my flight to leave Delhi and make my way towards Kathmandu did I realize what THE best thing about CAC is to me. And so, in this blog I want to answer my own questions. Most importantly, I want to share the story about the people who made me realize why.

    What is the best thing about CAC? What did I learn from this experience?

    It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you are in the world, how much money you have, what caste you’re from, what power you have, what influence society thinks that you should have – YOU can make the most incredible impact, with everything OR absolutely nothing on your side. This week I had the privilege of working with Praveen, the Founder of Foot & Boot through our amazing partner The Football Link. They have no money, little resources, and hardly have a ground to play on – and none of that really matters. He and his coworkers brought with them 9 of their youth players, who aspire to be future coaches, to attend the training. Those 9 players were some of the sharpest and wisest young minds I have ever had the privilege of getting to know.

    I asked these kids, “What is your favorite thing about your coach”? Many of the young girls said “He tells me I can be just as good as the boys” and “He tells me to believe in myself and my abilities”. One young boy said “He treats me with respect, and teaches me to treat other people with respect”. Not one of these things has anything to do with football or the material things he gives them. They don’t care that Praveen taught them to kick, run, and play good football. What they care about is that he is teaching them to be good people, to believe in themselves, and that he shows his belief in them as people and as players as well.

    There was a moment where I saw Praveen walking alone with his head down deep in thought. When I asked him what was wrong, he referred to a game. He spoke of a game where the players were asked to “run like a boy” and “run like a girl”.  He was heartbroken and disappointed in himself that his young girls were laughing and giggling and making fun of themselves, young women, and how they run. He felt as if he failed as a coach because they don’t realize that means that people have doubts about their ability and that they are making fun of them.

    To be a good coach, to be a good leader, to be a good person – we do not need money or things. He and his team will, as they already have, change the lives of every child they work with. Praveen has given them so much more than talent, a ball, or a jersey. He has given them courage, respect, hope, and other virtues. The young minds are not just strong, proud, independent and wise – they have the hearts of leaders.

    So “What is the best thing about CAC?” – To me the best thing about CAC is that I get to meet some of the worlds most inspirational people. People that surprise me with how smart, clever, and resourceful they are in their environments. These people have the biggest hearts, incredible wisdom, and prove to be relentless in their work bettering the world they live in. The best thing about my job is that I am always learning, always feeling inspired, always seeing something new, and above all – the Goosebumps moments. These are the moments where something happens and everything in your being is so moved by the moment that you’ve had, with the incredible people that you’re surrounded by.

    And, “What have I learned?”. What I have learned, is something that I have already believed, but in this moment, where these kids were doing coach backs like seasoned professionals I realized – Sport for Social Impact freaking works. It freaking works, and it works because of the incredible people backing it. Sport for Social Impact is not something that will save the world. BUT, the coaches and teachers who are involved in the movement – those people will. They will save the world. If not the whole world, at least a piece of their own, and the youth that follow them. That is something that I was , am, and always will be so truly moved to be a part of.

    P.S. On an unrelated note, Charlie and I had a pet mouse in our guesthouse. He came through my bathroom window and lived in our kitchen for the week – After a long stressful process of trying to scare him out of my room! The guilt of terrifying this cute little mouse made me want to feed and name him, which Charlie explained was one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had. Another thing I love about this job – the most unique experiences in which from each and everyone I grow as a person and discover something new about myself.

  • Getting Creative With Chevrolet

    November 11th 2016. CAC’s award-winning partnership with Chevrolet FC continued in Delhi, India with Sudeva.

    This week we have been delighted to bring our partnership with Chevrolet FC to Sudeva Sports in Delhi, India. Chevrolet recently built a full-size grass field for Sudeva. They are one of the biggest football academies in Delhi with some of the best sporting talent in the country. The new field will help Sudeva take their academy to the next level and continue their players physical and personal development. Chevrolet FC hosted an event in Delhi which brought Manchester United legend Quinton Fortune to Delhi to open the new field.

    Excitement and hope are common emotions in Delhi. The sights, sounds and smells convey a sense of history, diversity, unpredictability and passion. This is constantly expressed in many ways including the incessant beeping of car horns and the mixing of innumerable spices to create delicious meals. During our time working with Sudeva we experienced these feelings on the sports field. Working with an energetic group of young men and women from Sudeva and another Delhi partner, Naz Goal, we saw their excitement in every game we played and felt their openness through high-fives, handshakes and the occasional fistbump. Most of all though we heard their belief in a community, city and country which has the ability to grow and develop into a hub for critical thinking, open-mindedness and tolerance through their words and laughter.

    CAC attempts to create a space, using sport, where participants can safely discuss problems in their community and identify creative solutions to these problems. During this program, the group discussed issues such as gender equality, social inclusion and the environment (especially as the field was covered in smog after Diwali) which harm the economic and social development of their country. Towards the end of the week the young leaders were becoming adept at creating new sport for social impact games to address these issues with local youth. Following discussions with participants we prioritized our ASK for Choice female empowerment curriculum due to the troublingly high instances of discrimination against women in all walks of life in India. These games often prompted the most impactful discussions of the entire program. As Vicky, 1st team goalkeeper for Sudeva said, ‘Gender equality starts with us – ourselves, families, communities and up to our country and world.’

    Thanks to Chevrolet FC, our work with Sudeva will allow their hopeful young leaders to sustainably use the new field to harness the creativity and passion of local children for social good. The safe space, energy, support and resources are there- now it is time to implement.

     

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  • I’m Here, I Want To Play

    CAC SDL Coach Turner Humphries blogs on renewing acquaintances with Slum Soccer in Haryana, India.

    November 12th 2015. Stepping out of the Delhi airport I could see a tall man with wide eyes and an even wider smile making his way through the crowd of people towards me. The sign he had made to find me was folded up in his hands. After seeing me glance at it he said, ‘You look like a CAC coach so I didn’t even need this!’ His name is Homkant, and the two of us would be spending a lot of time together. From Delhi we had a two hour drive to Haryana were the coaching program would be held. Once we arrived at the house we would be staying at we both dropped our bags in the room and sunk into bed. He had arrived into Delhi not long before me; making the trek from Nagpur, a twenty two hour train ride away. The two of us were sharing a bed in a room lined with posters of Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar. With the eyes of some of footballs greats looking down on us we drifted to sleep, the next day would mark the start of the program with around thirty young leaders from Haryana.

    As always we began with Circle of Friends, a game designed to allow everyone to get to know one another as we warm up our bodies and voice. The first time Circle of Friends is played both participants and coach are feeling each other out. Participants new to the concept of sport for social impact are most likely wondering what a ‘boomshakalaka’ is and why I want them to do something called the Koo Koo dance. Before leaving for the field I was briefed by the local partners that female empowerment would be the main issue for the training, as girls are actively discouraged from playing football in their community. As Circle of Friends took off I noticed that girls were only interacting with girls and boys with boys. After pointing this out to the group everyone gave a light hearted laugh and agreed to mix it up. For some of the participants this was their first time playing football with the opposite sex. What was first nervous energy became real enjoyment and excitement as the participants learned how much they shared in common. It turns out both girls and boys really like Barcelona and Messi. Later in the session Homkant came up to me and said, ‘You and I, we know that girls and boys playing together is good. But some of the local coaches here are upset that the girls are mixing with the boys. They told me they will not bring there girls team to our training again.’ After hearing this I was deflated. To me this seemed incredibly unfair to the girls, as someone else was dictating under what circumstances they could play.

    The next day sure enough we were without nearly twenty female participants. However, the following day two girls appeared back at the field. They told me their coach had threatened to kick them off the team if they went back to the training. They didn’t seem bothered by their coaches severe threat. Putting her hands up in the air one of the girls said, ‘I want to play…so I’m here.’ Sometimes teenagers are smarter than adults.

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  • A Marriage in Social Impact

    December 17, 2014. Week 2 with Slum Soccer Nagpur brought to us by volunteer, Billy Hawkey.

    The setting was the same for our second week in Nagpur with Slum Soccer. Our participants for the week had already been through at least one CAC training. Some had participated in the training a year ago, others were a part of the training just one week prior. We had Community Impact Coaches and Slum Soccer senior staff members. The group knew what football for social impact meant, and they were familiar with the CAC methodology and values.

    This week Sophie and I had a goal to introduce new role models and as many new games as possible. To achieve this we had two separate on-field sessions every day, in addition to our classroom sessions. We were asking a lot of the group, we were going to challenge them, but they were ready.

    On day one we covered our Suarez and Hope Solo games. Day two was financial literacy and Perpetua games and the third day we played new child right’s games.  The games were new to the experienced coaches, which kept them engaged and having a blast. They were able to identify the social messages with ease, and so we challenged them frequently by asking how they would adapt the games to fit different social issues.

    Throughout the week the group had been planning games that they were going to invent and coach on the fourth and final day. The creativity and ideas they had were great. The topics included the dowry system, organic farming, rape, conflict resolution, the rights of children with disabilities, and child labor. They coached the games exceptionally; they were confident, well organized, and clear. They facilitated fluid discussions of the social impact related to their games. It was very fun to sit back and watch them at work. Slum Soccer is continuing to invent new games including math education games dealing with profit and loss (Did you even think it was possible to teach that through football?).

    An impactful game from the week was Suarez for Gender Equity. In this game two teams play a scrimmage with three goals to defend, and three goals to attack. Each goal represents a different way to empower women. The goals represented education, sports, and support. To begin, all players must walk. When an individual scores a goal, they must yell the empowering message and then they have the freedom to run. It took a few minutes for the first team to break even, but then we quickly had two running players, then three, four, and before you knew it everyone on the field was running. The quick increase in running players was due to the running players helping their teammates by giving good support, or dribbling fast around walking defenders and laying it off for a teammate to finish right in front of goal. This game represented the impact that empowering women has on a community. It has been shown that when empowered, women will give back and help their community more than men, just as in the game the empowered individuals helped their team reach its full potential.

    Slum Soccer was an extremely fun group to work with and the relationship between CAC and Slum Soccer is special. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them. We joked on several occasions that Slum Soccer and CAC are like a married couple; sharing the same thoughts and often pronouncing a great idea just seconds before the other intended to say the same thing. Slum soccer is adding programs of Edu-Kick, Shakti Girls Program, Slum Soccer on the Road, and Youth Leaders Training. They currently have centers in Nagpur and Chennai and are expanding to Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. 2015 is going to be an exciting year for the CAC and Slum Soccer partnership.

    In the evenings I played in friendly matches with the coaches, some of the participants, and the u14 Slum Soccer team. However one game in particular stood out. The Chai Game.

    I was feeling a little tired after a long day on the field, and was leaning towards calling it a day and hitting the bucket shower early. That’s when I was told “It’s chai game!” I needed no further persuading. I was up off the bench and on the field within seconds.

    Winning team gets chai; losing team serves. Throughout the game there was a sense of urgency in everyone’s voice. I couldn’t understand the exact content of what was being said, but the word “chai” was always in there. I would sporadically just scream out “chai!” to fit in. The game is up there for one of the most intense games I’ve been apart of, right next to games vs. Amherst. I am proud to say that I was victorious in my first career Chai match; however no chai was drank that night… we were all out of milk.

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  • Community Impact Coach in Delhi

    November 21, 2014. Community Impact Coach, Gurpratap “Guru” Singh, joins CAC On-Field for three weeks of programs in India. He writes about his experience with The Football Link in Delhi, where we first met him this time last year. 

    It was 2013 November when The Football Link Delhi partner for Coaches Across Continents called me to attend a training program for coaches which was sports for social impact. It sounded great. It was the first time when I met Nora and Nick at the Delhi camp. The exciting thing about the CAC camp is that sports can be used for changing the world, spreading awareness about social issues through sports (football). The games which are played are all same in the world of football but the difference is the way of teaching with more fun and fun with many social messages in one game. A sport is not mere entertainment but it is much more than that which I learned from CAC. I love all the CAC beliefs and support them. CAC is totally different education/knowledge and learning for coaches.

    Working as a Community Impact Coach with CAC this year at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium has been a totally different experience, more of a learning as a coach than a participant. The most amazing part of my journey was to meet different organizations (Naz, My Angel’s Academy, Football Link etc) which are working for the development of football, kids, and community in the state. I was moved to see the amount of work they have done and got excited to see their future plans. The CAC journey has helped me to increase my social network of football. At Jawaharlal Nehru stadium I was surprised to see the number of coaches than last year when I was one among them. If I have to choose one game it is quite difficult and I know the CAC family would agree with me. I love all games played till yet but as the tradition which I love to follow which is expressing a game enjoyed the most, that would be Mia Hamm Communication. I love the combination of football and its social messages of communication, self confidence and telling the good thing about others making the environment amazing with positive energy. One feels positive vibes and safe space all around.

    Being a Community Impact Coach it felt great to see coaches looking at you as their role model and pushing themselves to be like us in their community. It gives you great satisfaction when you see people want to change their thinking and challenge themselves.

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