• Baybay: Sweeter the Second Time Around

    May 5th 2016. CAC Community Impact Coach Hazel Cerena writes about her week with CAC in Baybay, Philippines.

    On its second year, Coach Patty and I (from Football for Life) helped lead the CAC training alongside Coach Charlie and Coach Makara (a Community Impact Coach from Cambodia). There was a mix of excitement and fear since Charlie told me and Coach Patty that CAC Chief Executive Strategist Brian wanted to push us (not literally) during the seminar. We would lead most of the drills so I was hoping I could make it interesting for the participants.

    First day came and while we were waiting for the participants, it was a bright sunny day in Baybay National High School. As the participants arrived I was told that most were PE teachers but upon their arrival, I noticed some of them were hardly fit and never played football. The teachers from the school made a small opening ceremony to formally introduce us and each of us coaches gave a little speech for the participants. All I really wanted was for them was to promote football for social change within the city, learn from the seminar, but mostly, to have fun.

    I volunteered myself to do the Messi Skills for Life game which was a relatively easy game because it was more on technical skills than the other games. As I have said earlier, it was a bit challenging for some of the participants since most of them weren’t football players but never they never gave up which I really found inspiring. Day one was well spent and on the way to our hotel, we passed through a shortcut which revealed a rice field with the view of the mountains. It was too beautiful to not notice.

    On the second day, the participants were more confident and more active on the games. There was one particular participant who was very enthusiastic, he was bringing more colour to the games and immediately became the star of the group (not that I’m being biased but he was really cheerful!).

    Early evening we had a nice swim at a resort inside Visayas State University, where we held the first CAC training. Coach Patty, Coach Charlie, and I were practicing our Frisbee skills in the swimming pool while coach Makara was on the side, happily taking pictures of us (unfortunately he doesn’t know how to swim).

    We had more challenging games on the third day, where their creative juices were being brought out and truthfully, they never failed to deliver. Everyone was actively participating and enjoying the games.

    There were two highlights of the seminar, each of them came from the female coaches who shared their experiences. On our talk about gender equity in Baybay, one female coach was very emotional when she was sharing her childhood experience to the group. It wasn’t how she was mistreated about being a girl but how her childhood disposition made her into what she is right now. The other female coach who delivered her speech towards the end of the program said she was expecting the usual, boring seminar but to her surprise she had never sweated that much in a seminar! And for that, she was very thankful to us coaches for the knowledge we shared with them for the past four days plus a promise to promote football for social change in their community.

    The experiences I had with Baybay was definitely sweeter this time around.


  • A Unique Opportunity for Local Sustainability

    February 3rd 2016. Second-time volunteer, Marissa Segala, writes about our second week in Port-au-Prince with the Haitian Initiative (HI). 

    My second year in the dirt with CAC was equally sunny, warm and enthusing as the first. This time, we spent the first two weeks in city center Cite Soleil working with our third year partner program called The Haitian Initiative. The CAC model involves closely teaching local partners for three years and then allowing the community to take each program as their own; in accordance with the wants and needs of a community with which they are familiar. After an intimate first week with only the Haitian Initiative (HI) and other returning coaches, CAC was given the opportunity to observe as the HI hosted their very own week long clinic working with about 100 coaches from several surrounding community programs.

    It was a thrilling experience to watch the HI coaches as they took the learning, adaptations and creations to the pitch with their own pointed agenda. The CAC skills remained, but the interactive teaching and playing was uniquely HI. One of the coaches was quoted with confidence halfway through the week saying, “We’re so excited, because it really feels like we can do the work just as well as you [CAC coaches]” This may not sound like a compliment, but this is exactly what CAC loves to hear. Confusing, I know. Who wants to be told that someone else can do your job as well or possibly even better than you? Upon further reflection, I realized the underlying implications of this comment.

    The purpose of a CAC coach is not to be the best one on the pitch or the most knowledgeable relative to those around you, but it is to help create and foster an environment that promotes the growth and development of a multitude of great coaches and thinkers. The HI coaches demonstrated clear command of their own specific agenda, and they executed it flawlessly. It only makes sense that a program could run more smoothly when run by locals who understand the culture, language, people and the issues on a much more intricate level than any visitor could attempt.

    The CAC model has been executed perfectly by the CAC staff. They are able to provide an opportunity for coaches to engage with and showcase their skills. It indicates a special kind of success that is far more rewarding and complimentary of not just CAC, but all parties involved. I look forward to continuing to work for CAC as well as staying involved with the growth and success of the Haitian Initiative over the next several years. Until next time.