• Hands Are Made For Helping

    August 29th 2016. Coaches Across Continents (CAC) volunteer Alicia Calcagni discussed our week with Globalteer in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    Hands are made for helping. This week we worked with the non government organization Globalteer. The staff is building up a sports program, but they have also been running a school called Helping Hands for the past 10 years in a small village in Siem Reap Cambodia. It is about a 15 minute Tuk Tuk drive to the village from the city. There is no electricity or running water, and the bumps and holes in the dirt road aggressively tossed us from side to side in our seats. It was one of the most beautiful experiences. The endless rice fields glowed making the white clouds in the sky pop. We drove past various bamboo huts, and small kids exploring every corner of their natural play ground. The school was at the end of the road, and consisted of three classrooms, one bathroom, and a soccer pitch that had 2 goals made out of bamboo and wood. The families in the village built the school themselves so Globalteer would come and teach their kids. There are around 300 students and they mainly learn Khmer, English, and Math. The teachers gave a tour of the classrooms and then encouraged us to experience a class or get to know the kids. We recognized some of the students because they attended our program in the morning before class. After a dusty defeat in ‘duck duck goose’, a challenge to some pickup was much appreciated despite a similar result. After almost half an hour of running around, the kids showed no sign of slowing and moved on to playing a couple of games we taught them earlier in the week like head/ catch and 95% football. It was cool seeing the players enjoy CAC outside of the program.

     

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  • Mintridge’s Week In Cambodia

    August 23rd 2016. We were delighted to have Mintridge Events‘ Alex Paske and ambassador Pamela Cookey join us for our first week this year in Phnom Penh with IndoChina Starfish Foundation. This was their experience.

    Monday 8th August 2016

    Following arrivals from the UK, Malawi and Thailand, there were some very tired travellers within the Coaches Across Continents and Mintridge teams yesterday and therefore early nights were in order ahead of a busy schedule this week.

    05:45 – BEEP BEEP of the alarm and the CAC and Mintridge teams are up and ready for the first coaching sessions of the programme. A light breakfast was in order before a tuk tuk journey to the IndoChina Starfish Foundation (ISF) training ground approximately an hour away from our hotel in Phnom Penh. (ISF are CAC’s local partner here). We were treated to the sights of a Cambodian rush hour throughout the journey to the theme tune of travellers beeping their horn – mopeds galore!

    Together with the two Community Impact Coaches that have travelled from Siem Riep, Rueben and Charlie delivered sessions to the eagerly awaiting footballers. For many, this is the fourth year of working with Coaches Across Continents and for others they were arriving for the very first time. Charlie opened the programme with a series of questions for everyone, for example:

    “Do you coach men and women?”

    “Do you coach youth and children?”

    “Do you believe men and women should have the same opportunities?”

    “Do you deliver sessions that incorporate the environment?”

    The “Circle of Friends” kick started the warm up with Rooney as the role model focus for the coaches followed by a health and wellness game to encourage creativity.

    As the morning progressed, the ISF coaches grew in confidence and were generating future ideas for the groups that they lead which represents the Self-Directed Learning process. For example, the proactive nature of moving to a cone to receive a ball rather than standing and waiting was used to echo a message of being proactive to getting a job – a subtle message for the coaches to take to their own communities and deliver.

    Other examples of game ideas with hidden social messages including caring for the environment followed. For example; bibs were used to represent rubbish and coaches were tasked with collecting bibs (rubbish) and delivering it to a coned area (representing rubbish tips). A simple yet very effective message for the coaches to take back to the groups that they coach – particularly for youth groups.

    The sessions ended and lunch was in order, not before a tuk tuk ride back into the city though for CAC and Mintridge to experience the sights of Phnom Penh once more.

    The afternoon was spent in the wonderful setting of Rabbit School, CAC watched the coaches that they have been working with for the past four years deliver a football session to contrasting disabilities. Here, CAC could see the progress that has been made within these particular ISF coaches and the impact that it was having on the youth groups.

    A great end to our first full day of the programme before returning to our hotel for a delicious local meal.

    Tuesday 9th August 2016

    Another early rise for the CAC and Mintridge teams today as we returned to the training ground to focus on areas that the coaches felt were issues in their own communities. They raised these issues at the end of the session yesterday and therefore the CAC team took these away to create an action plan for today’s session.

    Despite a minor hiccup and slight delay for Ruben and the CIC coaches in a broken down tuk tuk, the rest of the morning followed with no setbacks.

    Areas of focus for the coaches included:

    • Traffic Accidents
    • Power & Corruption
    • Robbery
    • Saving money
    • Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

    These five areas were conveyed in the following ways:

    • Traffic Accidents

    The warm up was presented in a circle with players following a role model (Hope Solo) as a command task. Ten players ran through the circle at a time following the completion of their task representing a sense of chaos like the roads of Phnom Penh.

    • Power & Corruption

    The mirror game was used to demonstrate the government. One player would come forward and their opposition would have to follow the exact movements that they do. A progression could be that if a bad example is given by the “leader”, the other person does not have to follow and this and the next person steps in and takes on the task.

    • Robbery

    Goals were set by the individual teams in their own area, they wanted to get a certain number of bibs / balls / cones from the middle against the other teams playing. Some teams met their goals but others did not achieve theirs and therefore an element of cheating was brought in – and players could steal from other teams. This is clearly not the end message that is wanted and therefore groups felt they should bring in a sharing element so that all teams could achieve their goal.

    • Saving Money

    For this game, there were two teams that competed against each other. Once seven passes had been completed by a team, they received money which represented money which they would save.

    • Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

    Players that represented bad influences held a ball on the outside of the playing area. The remaining players attempted to run from end to end without being hit, if they were hit, they joined the bad influences to try and hit others. Progressions were introduced to include protection against the bad influences.

    We travelled to Stung Meanchey to be greeted by waiters and waitresses in the English class at ISF, they had created a restaurant for us to enjoy and speak to them in English, putting what they had learnt in lessons into practice.

    Following this, we were delighted to accept a tour of the local community by ISF where the majority of students that attend the school live with their families. A particular highlight was meeting the Community Librarian Mr Tong who took great pride in his work and had such passion when explaining to his visitors about his duties. CAC and Mintridge could have stopped and chatted to him all afternoon, however a certain netball session was in order.

    Pamela Cookey, Mintridge’s netball ambassador and Ex England Netball Captain led a session for ISF students that started with video footage of Pamela’s career highlights. Netball has never been seen by the majority of the group so this was able to give them an insight into what was in order for the next hour.

    Pamela started with the very basic skills; passing, pass & move skills and an introduction to defending. It was incredible to see the hunger for learning the new game and the ease with which they picked it up. The session ended with medals awarded to some of the students that showed great potential as well as Pamela’s autograph cards for each player!

    Pamela was extremely grateful for the Coaches Across Continents CIC coaches who had also never experienced netball but eased into aiding her with translation and coaching as well.

    A great way to round off a fantastic day as the team returned to the hotel for the evening to prepare for the day ahead tomorrow.

    Wednesday 10th August 2016

    The CAC and Mintridge teams returned to the ISF training group for another morning’s programme. An increased number of coaches arrived today following the end of some school exams.

    Today’s session was to focus on “ASK For Choice” which will help the coaches create games focused around gender equality within their communities:

    • The warm up centred around the coaches coming up with safe places for women in their communities. Hospitals, schools, homes were some of the places that were considered and these became commands for their first circle task.
    • “Jump Like A Girl” followed which gave an insight into both female and male visions of the different ways men and women play sport. For example, when tasked to “Throw Like A Man”, the group demonstrated strong, able throws which was a stark contrast to the “Throw Like A Girl” which largely showed gentle, weak examples. The group gathered at the end of the task to discuss this with the CAC coaches to find out the reasons why these stereotypes appear and how this makes women feel.
    • The coaches told CAC that they felt woman should have the right to education, sport, laughing and life and these four words became different cones in the zoned area. The group was tasked to run to the cone that was called out to cause repetition of women’s rights within their sessions.
    • Healthy and unhealthy gates were created for the fourth game of the morning. CAC coaches called out different words and individuals had to make a choice as to whether it was healthy or unhealthy and run to that particular gate. For example; smoking, fruit, unprotected sex were called.
    • Mintridge’s Pamela Cookey led the next session which focussed on careers that women can aspire to. Individuals came up with different careers such as teachers, doctors, football coaches and if their career was called out by Pamela then they were able to race their opposition for the ball and attempt to score a goal.
    • The final game had two teams played a normal game of football except one team had more ways of scoring points – this game represents inequality within communities and the group gathered at the end to discuss ways in which inequality can reduce as well as the perception around it.

    The final part of the morning enabled the men and women to split. The men focussed on Child Rights policies while women gathered in a safe place to discuss women’s rights. The area gave them a chance to open up and delve into the issues that they face within their communities such as sexual abuse through technology. “How can we protect against this?” “What rights should women have?” The session is hopefully the start of women opening up and taking the thoughts discussed outside of the sporting environment and into communities.

    This afternoon was incredibly exciting for Mintridge as ISF kindly invited them to their second school in Chbar Ampov. After touring the school and local community where the students live, Pamela Cookey led a presentation with a powerful message. She spoke about the lessons that sport has given her and the challenges that she has learnt to overcome through it. Through photos and video footage, the students and staff were able to capture Pamela’s key messages as well as have an insight into a brand new sport…netball!

    Following wonderful gifts, Pamela took to the courts and led a short netball session with some of the students. Enthusiasm was definitely not missing as they grasped the various passes, footwork and of course, Pamela brought in some shooting! It was a great way to round of the day! Thank you the Indochina Starfish Foundation for such incredible hospitality.

    Thursday 11th August 2016

    Our penultimate day of the programme today saw a focus on child rights and protection. As soon as the CAC and Mintridge teams arrived at the ground, the ISF coaches were raring to go with some of the games that they had created themselves.

    Firstly though, Pamela led a warm up to focus on leadership skills. The group was split into fives and numbered one to five in a line. Number one began and led their group in different directions commanding different tasks such as high knees, squats, star jumps and so on. If your number was called, you left your group to go and lead another and create your own tasks. As Pamela gathered the group at the end of the programme they explained that as they became leader, they grew in confidence and it enabled creativity; something that can be taken back to different communities.

    The first session created and led by some of the ISF coaches alone for today followed and this helped raise questions such as:

    “Is there anything that is preventing these rights?”

    “Who can help us practice these rights?”

    The game centred around 4 gates which represented different rights:

    • Participation in sports
    • Life
    • Protection
    • Development

    Once a type of right was called, your team had to race to the gate and pick up an item that would be returned to base. Different limits were put on the game which the group explained aided teamwork and intelligence. The limitations could also be used to represent disabilities for example.

    Following the feedback from CAC, ISF coaches moved onto the following game which focussed on different types of child abuse such as:

    • Trafficking
    • Drugs
    • Parents prohibiting their child from going to school.
    • Sexual
    • Mental
    • Child Labour
    • Physical

    The idea is for players to represent types of abuse and stand on the outside of the circle with balls. These balls are thrown into the remaining members of the group; if a player is hit they are knocked down which represents being abused. As the game progresses, players in bibs come in and tag those that have been abused and those still aiming to avoid it. The bibbed players represent types of protection such as organisations, teachers, religious leaders, coaches and family. A progression on from this could be one you have been tagged by the bibbed player following on from being hit, you can also collect a bib and help protect. This represents being able to avoid continued abuse and being able to help others. The third game followed a similar theme except it was centred around the game of tag / stuck in the mud.

    One question posed by the group was “How can you stop people using their rights to abuse other people’s?”

    The fourth game followed a similar theme and idea to the first game of the day. Teams raced to a particular zone when a child’s right was called. This enabled the group to pose the question, “What happens if a child can only access one right?”

    CAC ended the games with a circuits session which emphasise the point of support systems. Firstly, teams went around the circuit where each member had to complete each station. However, on the second time around the circuit, only one member had to complete each challenge which helped complete it much more quickly. The group shared that they felt this represented a support system such as a family or football community proving teamwork. This could also be used for an ASK For Choice game with each challenge representing a stereotypical gender career choice or other types of social inclusion.

    To finish the morning’s session, teams worked together to create games to lead in the final day tomorrow focussing on areas that they felt were important to their communities and the teams that they coach.

    Following lunch at one of Leo’s favourites, the team headed to Krousar Thmey Deaf Mute Blind School Children School to see another ISF coaching session take place. As well as football, we were treated to a spot of hop scotch and time in the playground. We are still children at heart! The football session proves that sport really has no barriers; non verbal communicational skills were just as powerful and successful in achieving goals and it would be great for more to see this.

    An early night for CAC and Mintridge was in order ahead of the final day tomorrow, bring it on!

    Friday 12th August 2016

    We don’t want the programme to end! However today, we had our final day with the ISF coaches before they take what they have learnt into their own communities.

    The Mintridge team worked with the women for the first hour of the day revisiting areas from Wednesday’s ASK For Choice session and delving further into the issues raised. Later in the morning, the women would present the rights and policies to the men.

    “How do we tell the men about our rights if they aren’t willing to listen?” was a key question posed by some members of the discussion. Ideas included creating an environment that they feel comfortable in, for example, a football match with equal teams or karaoke party to deliver the messages.

    “How do we educate parents that are not happy with female coaches or rights in general?” followed and solutions to this posing question included taking photographs, showing trophies and medals to demonstrate the enjoyment and pride that marries their achievements.

    Coaches were soon given a short amount of time to prepare for their coach backs which were prepared yesterday. Areas chosen to focus on were:

    • The protection of forests
    • Discrimination
    • Theft
    • Eradicating temptation
    • Drug Abuse
    • Women’s Violation

    The games followed patterns and themes that CAC had demonstrated earlier in the week. However, the coaches had created their own progressions and ideas to each one. Following feedback to each other, the six groups gathered and were presented with certificates for their participation in the week. Obligatory selfies and team photographs were taken before CAC and Mintridge left for the final time.

    A particular thank you to some of the group that helped us with translation throughout the week, without which it would have been impossible. We have thoroughly enjoyed such a wonderful insight into the ISF Football community which largely falls down to Leo Brogan who has looked after us no end this week, thank you.

    As Mintridge head home tomorrow, Pamela and Alex enjoyed the Russian Market to get their must have souvenirs! The Royal Palace was next on the agenda this afternoon which was beautiful and our Tour Guide gave us a real insight into life as a Cambodian King. The farewell meal was a fantastic way to end a great week.

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  • Rained On And Better For It

    CAC regular volunteer Charlie Crawford blogs about enjoying the rainy season in Sihanoukville, Cambodia with M’Lop Tapang.

    September 4th 2015. The rainy season earned its descriptor this week. After two weeks in Cambodia’s Capitol, our coaching staff split into two groups and went to Sihanoukville and Siem Reap. As it went, Turner and Spring headed north to Siem Reap while I journeyed to the coast with Markus (or “Helga Mueller” as he appreciated being called after his favorite player’s female alter ego). On the coast, we worked with partner program M’lop Tapang and their 25 participants on one of the closest to ideal fields I’ve ever seen working with CAC.

    Sihanoukville seemed to be rolling out the green carpet for us. For the training we played our games on a beautiful roofed field. A quality astro-turf away from broken glass, mud, and the scorching sun is simply too rare to not show up each day with a smile on your face. As good as it was, there was one moment during this week that the conditions taught an important lesson. Perfect conditions just don’t exist. As we prepared to start the training on Tuesday, the Cambodian rainy season hit the switch. So much rain pelted the roof that we couldn’t hear each other shouting 10 feet away for 3 hours.

    Needless to say, our plan for the day required some last minute reorganizing, yet ended up being one of our best. A feat, in large part because of the flexibility of our three Community Impact Coaches.

    I’ll remember a number of things about this program.  The girl’s team that had better skills than the boys. The 9v9 pickup game we played with our coaches against other locals one evening. The fried noodle meals that left me wanting nothing else (an uncommon occurrence). But as impressive as these and the rain and the beach were, what truly made this a week to remember was the presence of these CIC’s from Phnom Penh. Sameth “Handsome Man”, Ranya, and Makara became more than a couple of coaches throughout the week.

    Making strong connections with people in a short amount of time is a pre-requisite for on-field work with Coaches Across Continents. That being said, having 3 weeks instead of the typical 1 gave Markus and me an opportunity to form a bond with these three coaches even more. From Sameth’s vitality to Ranya’s massages to Makara’s sense of humor, these three have certainly become part of CAC’s and my own family.

    That roof taught me something. Our success this week wasn’t from it. What it taught me was that no matter the conditions, what pulls a program off is the people involved. Everything else can be dealt with, whether that be by huddling in a corner to be heard or huddling in the shade to cool off. Lesson learned.

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  • Insights from 3 Community Impact Coaches

    3 CAC Community Impact Coaches from IndoChina Starfish joined us in Siem Reap for our partnership with Globalteer.

    September 3rd 2015. “Monday, all 38 coaches met us at the field, many with no shoes. They were very shy and didn’t know what to expect.” These are the words of Song Sarim, a coach from Phnom Penh’s Indochina Starfish Foundation. “We have many new coaches here for the first time.”

    Similarly, Sarim is working in Siem Reap as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) for the first time. As the week comes to a close, Sarim feels extremely satisfied with the growth he has witnessed on the field. That shyness he saw on the first day in each of the coaches quickly melted away, and he could feel their energy on the field. He especially noticed this in the female coaches from Globalteer – the group Coaches Across Continents is partnered with this week. Over half of this week’s coaches were female, as Globalteer strives to empower women in the community. “Everyone seemed to be happy all week and I saw many strong, good players.”

    The other two CIC’s who joined us this week seemed to agree. For Yim Sovath, this came to life in a game focused on gender equity. Players are instructed to “run like a girl.” What often happens – and surely enough what happened this week – is that all players, boys and girls, start running with their arms up and begin prancing around. It is always funny to see female coaches do this, women who normally run just as fast as the men.

    Sovath comments that this game is very important for everyone – not just women. The conversation at the end of the game helps us to realize where these stereotypes of men and women come from and what we can do to change them as coaches. “I also enjoy the game because it is fun; everyone is laughing, and we also learn a lot,” Sovath smiles.

    Srey Mau, the third CIC working with us this week, was able to witness female empowerment beyond our daily training. As a returning CIC in Siem Reap, Srey Mau knows how important it is to encourage girls every day, both on and off the field. She loves games focused on gender equity because they remind her and the other coaches that girls can do the same things as boys, even on the football field.

    Srey Mau was able to witness this first-hand as she attended the training of one of our coaches at Stepping Stones Cambodia. At a U14 girls’ practice, she watched girls use their voice, share their dreams for the future, and make their own decisions. Srey Mau believes that successful trainings like this remind women in Cambodia that they are strong and they can do whatever they set their minds to.

    Most importantly, all three of these coaches had a blast, as did the many coaches from Globalteer. “From laughter, conversations, everything – you could tell the coaches were having fun…a very fun week!”

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  • CAC Run UN Youth Leadership Sessions

    June 15th 2015. Today, Coaches Across Continents is running sessions at the UN Youth leadership summit at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The summit, which has brought together 60 youth leaders in sport for development, takes place over two weeks. It was organized by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Global Action Initiatives who invited CAC to help. It involves an intense schedule of high level seminars, athlete talks and cross-cultural learning. The youth leaders will return to their community with a greater knowledge of sport for development and be able to share their learning with colleagues and youth.

    On Sunday June 14th CAC ran sessions as part of the public festival which was open to everyone in the community. This involved running CAC games with groups of children throughout the day alongside NSCAA coaching and sessions from Partner of the Americas. Today is the soccer day at the summit. This means that the 60 youth leaders will be shown CAC games and learn how soccer can be used to create social change in their community.

    In addition, three youth leaders from CAC’s international partners are attending the convention in Florida. Sylvester from training4Changes in South Africa, Prateek from Childreach International in Nepal and Soky from Globalteer in Cambodia have all flown to Florida for the convention. They are able to attend because of their connection with CAC and the forward-thinking of their organization. As a result of attending, the organizations they belong too will benefit from their increased knowledge and global outlook.

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  • The Future of the Philippines

    May 18th 2015. Community Impact Coach (CIC), Patty Caceres from Football for Life, joined CAC in Baybay, Philippines to assist in the training of educators as sport for social impact coaches. As she breaks down the program, we get a true snapshot of a CAC training from the perspective of an incredible CIC.

    A week ago today was the conclusion of an intensive two and a half day sport for social impact coaches’ seminar by multi-award winning Coaches Across Continents (CAC) in Baybay City, Leyte.  The seminar was made possible by the Football for Life (F4L) Program from Tacloban City which has, since August 2014, used football as a tool to rebuild the lives of children and youth of Tacloban after typhoon Haiyan.  Coaches Nora Dooley, senior development lead coach of the CAC and Charlie Pomroy of CAC’s Cambodia implementing partner Globalteer were the tandem coaches who visited the Philippines this year.

    In October of last year, CAC came to Tacloban featuring the first year of their Hat Trick Initiative to teach coaches, educators and leaders on how to use sport as a tool to educate about different social issues and to teach life lessons (shout out to coaches Brian and Kelly, hello!)  This year, after the second year seminar in Tacloban, CAC and F4L went on a two plus hour ride south to Baybay City.

    And we from the F4L were accompanying the CAC not merely as staff to handle logistics but we were tasked to assist them by coaching and sharing our coaching experiences and learnings from the two CAC seminars we’ve already attended to the participants.  (Challenge accepted!)  Here is an account of the four days spent in the very scenic Visayas State University (VSU):

    Day 0 (May 6)

    Today, coaches Nora and Charlie and we F4L staff and coaches Paula, Hazel and I travel to Baybay.  We waited for the van to be filled up by other passengers, since we arrived way ahead of schedule in the terminal.  We left Tacloban at around 5:30 in the afternoon.  I was unusually awake the whole time of the trip, nauseous as I often am on landtrips, I just couldn’t sleep (cue music, “I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it”).  We arrived in Baybay before 8 p.m. and our gracious host Dr. Aleli Villocino, VSU’s Institute of Human Kinetics Director greeted us at the terminal.  She brought us to a fancy café resto downtown to purchase to-go dinner.  She bade us farewell and we headed off to VSU where upon arrival, IHK staff assigned us to our accommodations. (Tomorrow is going to be a long day!).

    Day 1 (May 7)

    We had breakfast at 7 a.m., a minibus was waiting for us at 7:45, we had to be transported to the upper campus, the venue of the seminar, since our accommodations are in the lower campus.  Participants registered and came in, filling up a tiny portion of the IHK gym (the unfilled space intimidates me, this is not good but still, game face on!)  By 9 a.m. the opening program started with a prayer, the Philippine National Anthem was sung next, then Dr. Aleli gave her warm words of welcome.  Then I spoke to talk about who we from the F4L are and what we do in Tacloban before I gave the floor to the coaches to start the session.  (I stuttered a little bit, I am more used to giving speeches with notes but when I took a deep breath and just talked with passion, I stuttered no more).

    We then went outside to the wide football field, where the CAC staple, Circle of Friends, as a warm-up was introduced.  Then still in the circle, Ronaldo Skills were taught.  The eagerness to learn and the group’s fun disposition made for a morning filled with laughter.  Ronaldo Tag was played next, then Ronaldo for Health and Wellness.  And when time came to go in groups, (cue music, “mingle, mingle, mingle) we all danced to Mingle Mingle.  Ronaldo for Gender Equity was up next.  Then the football games, Ronaldo for Conflict Resolution and Ronaldo for Fun.  By lunchtime, the group had decided to transfer to the lower campus, where the cafeteria is located and our accommodations too (yehey!).

    Before heading onto the field, Coach Nora discussed about the differences between sport and sport for social impact.  The participants were attentive and yes, some were skeptical as to the how’s and why’s of sport for social impact.  But I’m sure that in the culmination of the seminar, the skeptics will be believers.  On-field, Marta Skills and Combination skills were done.  Jaguars vs. Blackbirds was next then Marta for Conflict Resolution was played.  Coach Hazel and I then introduced Old Trafford Tag, one we learned from last year’s seminar.

    The day was capped off with the Marta for Gender Equity and Marta for Fun games.  Though some participants are not football players, it’s amusing how they try their best to do the tasks with perseverance and enthusiasm.  After the activities and some rest, the three of us, Paula, Hazel and I went to the beach for a swim, to watch the beautiful sunset and just talk and relax after a strenuous day.

    Day 2 (May 8)

    The day started with a review of yesterday’s drills and activities.  Participants went in groups to make visual aids of the games played yesterday, each group had representatives to discuss the drills most especially, explain on the social impact of the drills. We then proceeded to the activities, starting off with Tim Howard “T-Ho” (goalkeeping) skills and T-Ho for Conflict Resolution.  Coach Hazel and I led the Pair Scrimmage.  Watching the participants play like kids and having fun humbles me.  T-Ho for Gender Equity and T-Ho for Fun were the last activities for the morning.  After returning from lunch, a Child’s Rights discussion was led by Coach Nora.  The afternoon was spent on games discussing HIV as a social issue as well as the Right to Family and the Right to Education games.  CAC and F4L then spent a delightful dinner with the VSU President, Dr. Jose Bacusmo, and IHK workforce.  A healthy exchange of thoughts occurred.  (I think that happens when you all had a nice meal!)

    Day 3 (May 9)

    Today, we spent half a day doing drills and discussions.  We were set to go back to Tacloban later in the afternoon.  The drills and games included that tackled on Child’s Rights, What Makes a Good Leader? And Ideal Man and Ideal Woman.  Some of these games were rather a source of discourse, especially the notions on women and their role in society.  Do you have that thing that ticks you off? For me, it’s the fact that some men still think that women are not as good as men, and they’re better off at home.  It’s just sad that the men of today are or will be fathers of daughters and if these men don’t learn to respect women as equals, how backward our society will be.

    Lesson learned: Always have that patience for those in darkness.  In the end though, the discussions clarified everything and seeing those people who were closed-minded in the beginning “evolve” into more empathetic people makes me look at the future with hope.  I just wish everyone would be as open-minded to the fact that when we empower women in our society, the better our society will be.  Remember that old adage that goes, “Two heads are better than one”?  We need just that, woman and man helping each other to achieve real progress in society.

    The two and a half day of games and discussions ended with distribution of certificates and souvenir t-shirts to the participants.  Short talks were also given by Prof. Aleli, some of the participants, me and coaches Nora and Charlie.  In his speech, Coach Charlie quoted Steve Jobs who said, “The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.”  I love this quote a lot and it really reminded me that the impact we can have on the lives of the people we associate with are enough to change the world.  Out of college, on to my first interview for a teaching position which I totally aced, I told the dean that I have this personal motto of “Helping change the world, one student or class at a time.”  I hope that in one way or another I am doing just that with coaching and educating.

    Passion is the thing that should drive us to be of impact to others and to be the best versions of ourselves, and I am thankful that the CAC seminars I’ve attended and assisted just made that passion burn all the more. Snapshots were taken as souvenirs and new friendships blossomed.  We then went to our accommodations to pack our bags.  We left Baybay in the afternoon today but the memories of fun and the learnings are sure to stay.  Arriving in Tacloban though, the day was far from over, Coach Nora spent her birthday last May 7 coaching so we had dinner of barbecue and cake plus Philippine exotic food, balut, to truly celebrate.  (I know coaches Nora and Charlie didn’t enjoy the balut, but at least, you’ve really been to the Philippines because you tried, haha!)