• a month of growth

    October 11, 2018. Community Impact Coach Rose Elias recaps her travels throughout Amman, Jordan and throughout Georgia in the cities of Gori, Ambrolauri, Tsageri, and Zugdidi alongside Coaches Across Continents in partnership with Reclaim Childhood, and the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture.

    So about last September with CAC….

    It finally came true! My month with CAC had started. Our first destination was Amman – Jordan. Our program in Jordan was interactive and fun. There, I met some very inspiring coaches and leaders in sports and sports for social impact. Through our partner Reclaim Childhood I had the chance to talk to some incredible women that decided to just go for it despite social pressures or gender roles. Also, amazing coaches from the southern Jordan with good hearts and generous souls. It felt good to be in Jordan because as an Arab I had the chance to experience another Arab culture; it was similar, different and interesting.

    Our second destination was Georgia, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture. We had a big program in Georgia covering 4 different areas Gori, Ambrolauri, Tsageri and Zugdidi. It was overwhelming seeing Tbilisi another time, just because it is one of those cities you feel happy going back to. As we were moving from one location to the other we had to travel sometimes up to 3-4 hours by car. Never ending beauty through mountains and valleys, crossing rivers, experiencing Georgian hospitality as we stayed with two very warm families in Ambrolauri and Tsageri that made us feel like home. As high as the experience was, we also had to face big challenges during our sessions. I felt how hard it is for Women to achieve something different, social pressure is strong, it feels like it is hard for the younger generation. A lot of their needs are neglected because of social conformity and the rough nature of their lifestyles. It was not easy to observe and not feel some pain during this trip. On the other hand the Georgian culture is very rich and people have such strong connections with their neighbors, insanely generous and they are very happily living their clean, organic and literally fruitful lives. We tasted some top notch home-made wine, liqueur and an abundance of authentic Georgian cuisine. 

    Life has been very generous with me, it offered me this CAC trip. I could feel my person growing every single day. I learned a lot as a sports for social impact coach, I experienced two amazing cultures, Markus, Jesse, Toko and I were each other’s family, we cared and looked after one another. These moments will forever stay in my heart. My friends back home are telling me that my face is glowing! The secret behind this radiance is an unforgettable CAC trip that fertilized my inner-growth and showed me how powerful our work is. I can’t wait for what is coming. 

     დიდი მადლობა (Didi madloba)

     (Shukran) شكرا   

      Thank you 

  • GEORGIA Rose

    October 4, 2018. Community Impact Coach Rose writes about her experience working On-Field with Coaches Across Continents for the first time in Georgia with Community Partner, Ministry of Sport and Culture alongside SDL Educator Markus Bensch. 

    As we arrived  last Saturday  to Tbilisi my heart warmed up with nostalgia of very special memories from my trip last year. A day later we arrive to Gori, Stalin’s hometown, known for its tasty apples. I didn’t know what to expect on our first day. We had a large group of school teachers and sports coaches of different diciplines.

    This experience was very special because of so many different reasons.  It was the first time I train people that come from a completely different culture and speak a language I can’t understand. Also, it was interesting to have a variety of age groups. I can’t deny that I felt challenged the first day because most of the participants had a lot of pride to their physical abilities and achievements throughout the years. Our mission was to introduce them to a new perspective, where they can use sports for social impact and personal growth. As the days passed we overcame many challenges and we played fun inclusive games.

    One very special person I will always remember is Luda, a 10 year old girl, usually she spends a good amount of her time playing with the boys around the neighborhood. Luda watched us play for 2 days and on the third day she couldn’t help herself from joining, so she just stood with everyone, grabbed a bib and considered herself a participant in the program. I will always remember her everlasting smile and eager eyes observing the field and waiting for the ball to come her way. Luda is a gifted soul!

    CIC Rose, on her experience during her last week on-field with Coaches Across Continents in Zugdidi, Georgia. 

    This was our last program in Georgia. I can say that our 3 days went very well. Around 45 coaches and teachers from different disciplines actively participating. I loved that we had vocal female coaches and relatively younger participants leading change in their communities. We were able to have a lot fun and discuss very important social problems and challenges in Zugdidi like alcohol and drug abuse, gender equity, healthy lifestyles and we had many Q&A talks about Child Rights alongside our Child Protection Training. Our incredible coaches were very engaged in the conversations, and everyone was sharing their ideas and solutions.

    One moment I will remember for a while, when around 4 coaches were discussing “what is the best alcohol and drugs awareness approach for Children?” Seeing the conversation happen, 4 different points of views, 4 different ways, different opinions, etc… the CAC team created this safe space for them to freely discuss and share their ideas! Serving a higher purpose in life drives and shapes the person I dream of becoming.

    It was simply beautiful, empowering and felt like a big success being in Zugdidi.

    Didi Madbloba Zugdidi (Thank you so Much Zugdidi)!

     

  • Tbilisi – City of Culture, Poets and Passionate Coaches

    September 18th 2017. CAC Community Impact Coach Lorik Hartoun, from our partners GOALS Armenia, discusses her experiences during our work with Georgia Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs in Tbilisi. We want to thank the Games 4 Good Foundation for supporting Lorik’s trip to Georgia. 

    Almost every Armenian poet, author and intellectual has studied and been educated in Tbilisi in the 19th century and earlier. I have always wanted to visit this city and feel the culture and passion hidden within. I was lucky enough to be able to travel with Coaches Across Continents as a Community Impact Coach (CIC).

    As we were on our journey from Yerevan-Armenia to Tbilisi-Georgia, I had my list of places to visit and some information about the people and country. We entered the city and drove through the city center Avlabari, which is home to an Armenian community. We passed through cobbled streets and saw churches with different architectural styles. We also passed by Rustaveli street which was my favorite, because of its mixture of old stoned and column buildings and modern glass towers. Finally we reached our hotel.

    Our program was held and organized by the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia. Almost 80 coaches representing 23 different disciplines registered for the program. It was very interesting to get to know people who are very similar to my ethnicity. Everything except the language was common and similar to Armenians. Even their comments, jokes, their love towards poets, culture and patriotism were similar.

    During the week-long seminar, I learned about the rules of different sports and exercises such as American Football, Frisbee, Baseball, Kudo, Judo and more. It was very inspiring to get to know female judo and other martial arts coaches. During the program we had a discussion about gender equality and their opinions towards it. It was a challenging topic and it was mostly the women who were aware of the positive consequences of implementing gender equality. I also learned that in Georgian the word for ‘mother’ is ‘Deda’, which means mother of Earth. The word for ‘father’ is ‘Mama’. It was very interesting to me that in Georgian the symbol of earth and empowerment is associated with the mother of the family.

    On the last day of the seminar we closed the program with a discussion about children’s rights and the characteristics of a good coach. I received positive feedback from the participants and they showed their willingness to attend the CAC seminar next year. I gained invaluable experience as a CIC during this program; I met coaches and made new friends and partners who would like to organize programs focusing on Female Empowerment. I want to thank CAC for giving me this opportunity.

    On the last night I had some very tasty Georgian wine, combined with lots of toasts and celebrations towards the connection of sport and peace. I want to make a toast towards this program of CAC and its growth and I hope it continues its efforts around the world. Puchka Puchka (Cheers in Georgian)!

  • A Range of Ranges

    September 16th 2016. CAC Board Member Judith Gates writes about our first ever program in Georgia with the Lagodekhi Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport.

    Home of the Lagodekhi Nature Reserve, close to the Azerbaijan border, Lagodekhi is a small town in Georgia nestled among scenic mountains and valleys. It was here that Coaches Across Continents had the privilege of working with a partner group comprised  of a very disparate group of coaches. Ranging in age from the mid seventies to the mid teens, ranging in sports coached from Tai Kwando to chess, including basketball, football and wrestling, the group brought together a range of experiences and expertise as wide and varied as CAC has ever encountered.

    What a great opportunity to demonstrate that a curriculum based on Self-Directed Learning is relevant irrespective of the sport being coached. What a useful opportunity to explore the generic role of coaches to use sport for social impact rather than focusing exclusively upon creating elite athletes.

    This was a thoughtful and challenging group. Having traditionally used their obvious deep knowledge of their sport of choice to nurture the elite, the participants readily turned their attention to alternative perspectives. ‘Why do coaches coach?’ was replaced by the even more encompassing question, ‘Why do young people play sport?” Words like ‘fun’ and ‘social’ were given greater emphasis than ‘winning’, ‘tactical’ and ‘strategic’.

    As the days progressed it was satisfying to see a shift in thinking and practice from a skills based approach to one which incorporated creativity and the opportunity for problem solving. By the final session the group readily signed their names to the CAC’s Child Protection policy, which both protects and develops a child’s sense of self worth. And along the way together we became familiar with a number of CAC games, shared traditional Georgian games and, most importantly, created new games to develop Self-Directed Learning and problem solving skills.

    Coaches may focus on differing sports, but we learned that every coach can also focus upon developing the individual and thus enhancing the community.

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