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.
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!
April 26, 2014. Community Impact Coach Natasha Bredekamp from The Football Foundation of South Africa joined CAC Senior Staff member Sophie Legros for a week in Nigeria – she tells us about her experience.
It’s Sunday morning and the long journey towards Nigeria waits, filled with excitement and ready to coach again after 3 years, I ensure I have all the necessary documents. Board the plane in Cape Town and there are no hassles, phase one of my travels completed successfully, off the plane in Johannesburg and now for the dash across the airport to make it to the International Departure Gate to Nigeria in time. I make it through passport control and as I’m about to board the plane, I am asked for my Yellow Fever Card (OH NO!!!). I don’t have one of those and everyone said I wouldn’t need one but no stress, there is a clinic on Johannesburg airport and I can have the vaccination done there and then board the next plane.
Monday morning, vaccine shot received and about to check in for the 2nd attempt to get to Nigeria. Success at last and I’m off, in a double seat all to myself with in-flight entertainment. Arrive in Lagos and the temperature is 35 degrees at 21:00pm (WELCOME TO NIGERIA). I get through passport control and as I’m looking for the assigned driver, I see a mob of people outside and I know there is no way I’m going to find him without any help, so I get an airport attendant to assist me in calling him and have him meet me inside the airport. Finally, we are in Lagos and on our way to the hotel, with buzzing roads and crazy traffic, you are left to wonder; “when does this town sleep?”.
Tuesday morning, time to meet the Coaches Across Continents Team Mate – Sophie – and off to the training field. Today we are doing the Be Empowered module, with games like Seles Attack and Sawa’s Rights it was destined to be a good day, and so it was, with the enthusiastic students which were compiled of teachers, coaches and players all visibly enjoying every game and taking an interest in the message it delivered.
Wednesday and Thursday was the same as Tuesday, same energy, same students but different games. Be Healthy and Be Money Savvy were two modules that grabbed some extra interest as the students couldn’t wait for reviews, so they could make some personal notes about what they learnt.
Thursday afternoon was extra special as it included a certificate handover ceremony which acknowledges all the participants for their involvement and hard work during the week. An Absa Bank Representative was also available for the ceremony, which was nice as they had sponsored the training and supported the foundation in making it possible that Sophie and I could be there to deliver this amazing training session.
With a heavy heart my week has come to an end and I am to leave Nigeria Friday night but not without taking a quick trip around Lagos to try and find some local markets. But the universe had other plans for me as it started storming and all the markets were closed, so I spent a few hours at the local mall before departing Nigeria.
This trip has reminded me why I love what I do, as making a difference using sports brings so many different cultures, races, gender and nationalities all together in one venue with one GOAL!!
Thank You to Sophie, Nick, Iwa, Preye, Lean and everyone who made this experience possible – Coaches Across Continents, Ovie Brume Foundation, Women Win, Youth Empowerment Foundation.
CAC does Netball for Social Impact
December 3, 2013. Sorry did I say netball? I meant foot… no, no, netball. That’s right. CAC coaches Sophie Legros, Nora Dooley, Sarah Brown, and CIC Homkant Surandase from Slum Soccer, stepped off the football pitch and onto the netball court for two weeks working with NAZ GOAL (nerd-alert! not be confused with the hobbit-hunting ring-wraiths in Tolkein’s classic). These two trainings in India were spent in Mumbai and then Delhi with two great groups of young leaders having a real impact on their communities.
Our first week in Mumbai stands as the second year we have sent coaches to work with this team from NAZ. Our staff were very impressed by the manner in which this group presented themselves to us – who they are, what they currently do, what they want to do, and what they need from our team to make the most of our time in Mumbai and to have the greatest possible impact on the communities they work in. The communication was refreshing and the week kicked off – or should I say passed off? – to a great start.
The participants consisted partly of peer leaders from the GOAL program. These are young female GOAL participants that are emerging as leaders among their peers and are pursuing the opportunity to play a more active role in their community. The rest of the group was made up of Community Sports Coaches (CSCs) and Senior Coaches. The CSCs are girls who have developed from peer leaders into coaches, and the Senior Coaches are young women – and one man! – who have come into their own as role models to the others, leading all things NAZ GOAL throughout Mumbai and beyond.
The priority for this week, as communicated to us by the NAZ senior leaders, was for us to go through each GOAL game thoroughly to ensure that all participants understand how the game connects with the social message, and how to balance the dynamic between GOAL games and GOAL classroom activities. To assist in this effort we asked to be taken to a GOAL classroom session at a school so we, CAC, could better understand that aspect of the program. Our team started the day off by coaching the GOAL participants, a large group of giggly young girls, in one of our Be Money Savvy games called Budgeting with Yelena. This is a game of tag where the taggers represent things we should not be spending our money on, or “wants”, and we ask the players to come up with examples. This group thought of makeup, fast food, parties, and jewelry to begin the game. We play the first round where the “wants” chase everybody else and if they tag somebody they give them the cone and that person becomes the “want”. Then we add netballs. The netballs represent money. If a player has a ball she is safe and they must pass to each other to keep each other safe from the “wants”. But, if they drop a ball, or it goes out of bounds, they’ve lost the ball, the money. The players are forced to make smart, quick decisions to stay away from the “wants” and not lose their money. In life we must make good decisions and not spend our budget on the things we want but the things we need. We ask the girls after the game about “needs” and to give us examples of things in life that we need. This game corresponds with the classroom session “Wants and Needs” that we observed afterwards led by some of the CSCs. This activity expands on the differences between the things we want and those that we need, giving more examples, as well as giving the participants a sample budget and asking them how they would spend it.
After this day we really understood what the NAZ Mumbai team needed and how we could best help them. The rest of the week was terrific and both groups left feeling satisfied that we accomplished our goals, enabling each other to do our jobs and achieve maximum impact.
As we bid farewell to the heat of Mumbai, the wonderful YMCA where we stayed, and that incredible group of game-changers, we set our sights on Delhi, and prepared for the sensory overload that comes with the capital city.
Same organization. Same country. That’s about all that was similar between our two weeks with NAZ GOAL.
Delhi was a different state, different city, different group of participants, and a vastly different week overall.
And that’s the beauty of Coaches Across Continents.
Initially the program was to be the same with both groups, as we had previously planned with Senior Coaches from both cities. But just as we discover with every program, in every city/town/village, in every country we work in, plans change, adapt, transform as we begin to understand who we are working with, the dynamics of the group, the unique situation they are coming from, working in, striving for. It is all part of that magical CAC equation that yields success worldwide.
NAZ GOAL Delhi is where NAZ began in India, and it was obvious from the outset that this program was farther along in terms of organizational structure, management and sheer size. A larger group of participants, made up mostly of peer leaders and CSCs, the priority for this group was for the younger members to step up as coaches and practice their leadership skills.
Built in to the week were two of the regularly planned GOAL sessions where peer leaders and coaches run games and classroom activities for about 150 students from the school where we were working. The plan for these sessions was for the GOAL team to assist the CAC team with one game, and then run the second on their own. Our team decided to play Mia Hamm Communication in one massive circle with 150 screaming, hormonal teenagers. Good idea? Great idea! Chaos ensued, naturally, but who doesn’t love a bit of mayhem at the office? The students went absolutely nuts, especially the boys, but they were so happy, so excited to play, so eager to learn and listen to every single word we had to say, and spoke great English so we actually managed to get bits of the social message across – wow! That was a ton of fun.
The young leaders were great all week. At each and every session they could not wait to play, learn netball skills (from our CAC master netball coaches, of course), and participate in discussions about everything from the importance of budgeting and saving money, to keeping our bodies healthy and how important it is for women to empower each other, for men to empower women, and for women to empower men.
Another great week with NAZ GOAL, a long blog, and our last stop in India as we say bye to CIC Homkant and coaches Sophie, Nora, and Sarah finish up long trips on the field for one last program in the beautiful mountains of Nepal – jealous? Yep.
Futsal for Social Impact
September 25, 2013. Coaches Brian Suskiewicz and Nora Dooley finished the GOAL program last week in Jakarta, Indonesia. After the first three days of training approximately 150 Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) employees in games from our GOAL curriculum, the CAC team set their sights on working with 400 junior high and high school students. SCB staff volunteered their time to coach the youth in CAC games over the course of three days. Not one of the employees had coached before meeting us on the pitch. Yet when it was their turn to coach they impressed the CAC staff immensely, nailing their coaching points and imparting valuable social impact messages.
The first day of implementation saw about 25 SCB volunteers coaching just shy of 100 junior high school learners. On two futsal pitches this was a very manageable number, and the first group of volunteer coaches were terrific. Brian and Nora found themselves doing much more managing and logistics and very little coaching! The second day was a bit more hectic as nearly 200 high school boys and girls streamed onto two small fields. The 35 SCB employees who coached the second day deserve an award for the way they handled this mass of adolescents. The third and final day of implementation was also Peace One Day, September 21st, and 98 more junior high school students joined 59 bank staff on just ONE futsal pitch. The CAC team had it under control, however, and a would-be chaotic day went very smoothly. In honor of Peace One Day Brian and Nora held a juggling competition, crowning one girl and one boy as champions.
Reflecting on the overall program with CAC partner, SCB, training volunteer employees in about 13 games from the CAC and GOAL curriculum and welcoming nearly 400 students to Grand Futsal locations in Jakarta, the CAC team could not be more satisfied with the week. Three great groups of bank staff showed up physically and mentally for both their Train the Trainer day and their volunteer implementation day. The CAC team is optimistic about the future with SCB and hopes these newly trained coaches will continue to pay it forward with youth from their community. Already SCB has reached out to four local NGOs who are adopting our curriculum including the Helen Keller Foundation and Mitra Netra (visually impaired foundations), Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (for underprivledged children), and the HIV Foundation. SCB Indonesia is also looking into continuing more implementation at schools around Jakarta and throughout Indonesia. Stay tuned for more from our GOAL program in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. Until next year, Jakarta!
SCB + CAC = GOAL!
September 19, 2013. Over the past three days Brian Suskiewicz and Nora Dooley have been working with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) in Jakarta, Indonesia. This marks the second year running the GOAL program in Jakarta, a CAC program championed by SCB to encourage youth to Be Healthy, Be Yourself, Be Empowered, and Be Money Savvy. CAC’s work with GOAL in Indonesia is part of a greater initiative with our valuable partners, SCB, in countries including Tanzania, Ghana, and India. The full program in Jakarta is six days, the first three marking the Train the Trainer portion with a total of 150 SCB employees, and the final three being the implementation with the employees and 400 youth from local schools in the city.
The first half of this training has been amazing. Not one of the SCB volunteers has had coaching experience before this week, but they are learning 13 CAC games in a single day and having a blast with their colleagues and the CAC team. This program has been different from other CAC trainings, as the coaches have only had one day to train each group of volunteers before they are expected to implement many GOAL games to large groups of adolescents. Yet every morning Brian and Nora were greeted with big smiles by a new batch of SCB employees, and every afternoon they left with bigger smiles, ready and eager to return over the next few days.
We also enjoyed having five people who came to training who are visually impaired. Two of them worked for SCB while the other three were from the Blind Foundation. They participated in the games and had a fantastic time. The only difference in the training was the use of a ball with noisemakers inside so that they could hear the ball as it moved. They are hoping to be able to bring the games back to their groups in order to use them in the future.
The only downside of this program is that the CAC team would love to have more time to work with all these great people. Working with them for only one day before hordes of teenagers swarm the pitches of the Grand Futsal facility is simply too little. With the help of SCB staff, however, the CAC coaches are truly making each day count. Brian and Nora cannot wait to be part of the first coaching experiences for this energetic bunch of bank employees. 400 teenagers, here we go!
Meet the Coaches working Standard Chartered GOAL: Indonesia
13 September 2013. Next Monday the 16th, two senior CAC coaches will kick off a week long GOAL program with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) in Jakarta, Indonesia. The GOAL On the Field curriculum was developed by CAC in cooperation with SCB with a focus on female empowerment. In order to encourage young girls to play sports and be more confident, the curriculum highlights powerful female role models such as Mia Hamm and Homare Sawa. Their stories are paired with football activities and important life lessons that will make up the bulk of the training sessions in the week ahead. Click here to learn more about the GOAL program.
The two coaches working in Indonesia are Brian Suskiewicz and Nora Dooley. Brian has been with CAC since 2010 as a coach and now claims the title of On Field Global Strategist. Brian takes charge of our football for social impact programs as a coach and coordinator, planning and organizing trainings with organizations all over the world. Before CAC Brian coached the beautiful game for 10 years at various universities in the States.
Nora is new to CAC but is hitting the ground running here in Indonesia. She joins CAC from a life of playing, coaching, and most recently volunteering for a different soccer for development organization known as Grassroot Soccer. Nora is ready and eager to get on the field with the SCB employees.
As an organization, CAC is very excited to be working with Standard Chartered Bank on this amazing project, aligning our shared motives of empowering females and using football as a means to a greater end.