• Full Circle – 6 Years Later

    August 17th. 2018. Coaches Across Continents CEO, Brian Suskiewicz, writes about his time On-Field with ISF Cambodia working with some incredible participants and people.

    This past week marked a new phase in the CAC/ISF partnership.  At the end of two consecutive Hat-Trick Initiatives (Chance to Choice and ASK for Choice), CAC is now focused almost exclusively on the Process Consultancy Strategic Resources that we can provide to such a distinguished partner. Meanwhile, On-Field the ISF coaches ran the coaching education course using a combination of CAC curriculum and ISF-developed games alongside CAC’s Self-Directed Learning methodology to create Education Outside the Classroom.  Seeing the staff of ISF taking full control of the On-Field training for over 100 local coaches showed this partnership had reached a new level. Already the ISF team are planning another On-Field coaching education at the end of this month in the provinces for coaches in rural communities.

    Working for the past two weeks both prior, during, and after the week of On-Field training was myself, Chief Executive Strategist Brian Suskiewicz.  In addition to observing and mentoring the ISF coaches On-Field, strategic meetings were held with key staff, school administration, the ISF country program manager Vicheka Chourp, ISF trustee Leo Brogan, and other ISF supporters one of which flew in for meetings from Hong Kong.  Key topics that our process consultancy covered was developing their soccer program M&E, and then how to use that information to better tell the impact their soccer program is having.  This includes their work with 4,000+ children in Phnom Penh creating Education Outside the Classroom, as well as their exemplary work with all-abilities children that earned them a 2018 Beyond Sport Award shortlist (winner announced September 12 in NYC).   We also mapped out ways to continue working together through potential joint-funding opportunities, which will combine the expertise of both organizations.  And finally we discussed internal improvements using our Workplace platform to inform our partners about webinars, monthly UN SDG curriculum, child and women’s rights policy creation, UN Global Days, Youth Leadership Courses like our MJYL program, and more.  These are all a part of our 28 year-round strategic resources that CAC uses to help our partners develop the organizational development and individual professional development in order to best impact their communities.

    Finally, it was a great personal experience for me.  Six years ago ISF initiated a conversation with me and CAC and our partnership began. In these years we have seen the ISF soccer program grow into an initiative that magnifies their work in their two schools, with their soccer program creating Education Outside the Classroom.  The ISF Soccer program also hosts domestic and international soccer events including the Ian Thompson Memorial Boys Tournament, the Goldman Sachs Girls Tournament, and the All-Abilities tournament each year, as well as the impact they are having on hundreds of local coaches and thousands of children annually.

    Fortunately, we will see each other again soon in New York City on September 12th, when the Beyond Sport Award Winners are announced.   Fingers crossed for ISF and all our six partners (plus ourselves) who were shortlisted!

  • Don’t Worry, Be Happy

    September 4th 2017. Coaches Across Continents Global Citizen and Michael Johnson Young Leader Ryan Jones writes about week 2 with the fantastic IndoChina Starfish Foundation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

    I have now completed my second week being a Global Citizen with CAC in Phnom Penh with ISF (Indochina Starfish Foundation) coaches and it has been another great week. The ISF coaches took a lot of ownership this week in terms of delivery and planning on who delivers what game. They also directed the CAC team to deliver too as the delivery was split with half the games being run by ISF and the other half being run by CAC. It was great to see so many excellent coaches deliver the social impact games with so much fun and relevance to a range of social issues.

    The last couple of weeks has had a real positive impact on me and I have really valued the ‘just get on with it’ attitude they have in Cambodia. People are genuinely happy with what they have, appreciating the people and opportunities they have around them. The coaches we have been working with have been great at solving problems and have shown this through adapting games and sessions for a range of participants of various ages and abilities.

    Nara, who is one of the lead ISF coaches, on numerous occasions quoted “Don’t worry, be happy” which is a quote that I love and something I will always remember from my trip to Cambodia as whatever your circumstances are, you should always be happy and approach all situations in a positive manner.

    One other highlight that has stood out was on Thursday evening at the farewell dinner in Phnom Penh for the ISF coaches. Jaime spoke very passionately about the impact CAC and the week’s training has had. He said that he works with 5 boys on a separate programme and 3 of them are affected by HIV. They all gained a greater understanding of the social messages and had great fun playing the games. They also started to speak more openly about HIV as well as their own experiences. It is really touching when you hear these stories and the great impact that the CAC curriculum have on the coaches and young people they reach.

    We are moving on to Sihanoukville to train a new group of leaders. I am very excited to be working with a new group of coaches.