• Michael Johnson Convenes Young Leaders in Dallas Summit

    June 21st 2017. Thanks to Beyond Sport for the following press release.

    Olympic legend Michael Johnson brings young leaders from 10 different countries together for a week-long summit at his cutting-edge performance center in Texas, furthering his support of young people working, leading and improving their community through sport around the world through the Michael Johnson Foundation.

    Now in the second year of the program, the Michael Johnson Young Leaders – all of whom have overcome adversity in their lives in some way – are given the confidence, skills and resources to use sport to make a positive impact on their future. The program focuses on world class sports training, leadership development and community engagement.

    Following the success of the inaugural program in 2016, the newest cohort of Young Leaders will travel to the Michael Johnson Performance Center, Dallas, from all over the world – Jamaica, Australia, Zambia, USA, UK, India, Philippines, Lebanon, Singapore and South Africa.

    The first phase of the program will involve the Young Leaders going through an intensive one week course of activities focusing on leadership development, community engagement and sports coaching and performance. They will be supported by a team of experts from around the world who specialize in sport for development, community coaching and youth leadership. This includes support from the Michael Johnson Performance team of cutting edge performance coaches, nutrition educators and sports administrators.

    Following the course in Dallas, the Young Leaders will go through a personalized twelve-month plan to support a key project they have developed that will use sport to engage and improve their community, as well as their own personal development. This support includes state-of-the-art virtual sports coaching sessions designed by Michael Johnson Performance Center, ongoing mentoring to continue their leadership development, and tangible support for their own goals and projects aimed at using sport to help their community. This includes funding, kit, and connections into to an extensive global network of leading organizations in sports, government, education, business and development.

    Following the year-long engagement, the Young Leaders will continue to be supported as alumni of the program, providing them with network, profile, and tangible education and employment opportunities.

    Michael Johnson said of the launch of the second year of the program: “These young people are already doing incredible things in their communities. We have a participant who is dodging bullets in order to provide sports training for young girls. We have a participant who is campaigning to the UK government for better access to disability sport. They are truly inspiring and have shown me the incredible plans they have to transform their communities, but which they need help to implement. We will be here to give them that help and we can’t wait to see what they will achieve.”

    Regarding the desired outcomes for the young people on the programme, Michael said: “It’s not about finding the next Gold Medallist – although if someone has the potential then Michael Johnson Performance will identify and nurture that talent. It is our hope that successful alumni of Young Leaders will become community leaders by starting their own sports charity or clubs, or become an influential coach to young people. Success here means that every single young person who has gone through Young Leaders will have the skills and opportunity to be a positive influence in their community.”

    Jamie Tomkinson ,22, a Young Leader from Class of 2016 , used the skills learnt and networks built to increase the role he plays in his community in Edinburgh: “As a result of the support from the MJYL program and the partner organizations, I have received support to deliver sport-based youth clubs for children and young people from disadvantaged areas”.

    Another MJYL alumnus, Simon, 17, from Uganda said, “As a result of the skills I learned and the ongoing support from the team at MJP, I was able to organize sporting events that coincided with World Peace Day.”

    The participants for the Class of 2017 were selected by Michael and a carefully curated panel of experts in youth leadership, sport, and social change. The selection process was carried out in partnership with Coaches Across Continents, the award-winning global charity that trains up local community leaders in using sport as a tool for social change.

  • The Beauty of Sindhupalchok

    December 16th 2016. Dylan Pritchard blogs from Sindhupalchok, Nepal where we work with Childreach Nepal.

    In my last week with Coaches Across Continents, Mark, Tejas, and I were with Prateek and Shamsher of Childreach Nepal along with Pema who is a leader on the Michael Johnson Young Leader course in Manekharka, Sindapalchuk. Manekharka is a small village that is only five hundred meters long in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain Range. It took us three different jeeps to get us there from Kathmandu in six hours. For only about thirty minutes of that six-hour drive were we on paved roads. The rest of the time we were driving up and down mountains on rocky dirt roads. It was a rough ride to get there but once we got there it was absolutely worth it. The beauty of the place stunned Mark, Tejas, and me. Manekharka is at the top of a foothill so you can look down and see a beautiful valley filled with terrace style farming. When you look up you can see some more beautiful foothills and can even see some peaks of the Himalayas. On the first morning Mark and I decided to hike to the top of the mountain we were on so we could get a better look at the peaks of the Himalayas. It was super tiring but we made it and snapped some awesome photos before we realized that we could possibly be late to our first training session. We booked it down the trail and ended up about half a mile away from the tin house we were staying at with only ten minutes to spare! We had to get some directions from some little girls, jump down some farming terraces, and jog but we made it because all the coaches and players came an hour late. So we had breakfast, got dressed, and made the five-minute walk to the training field.

    The setting for the field was stunning. It was not a very nice pitch but it was nestled on a terrace in the mountain and was surrounded by houses and animals with the Himalayas in the background. Only pictures can do any of the views I am talking about justice. This week’s program was set up the same way as last week in Bhaktapur except the players were older. It was an awesome week and I finally felt that I actually made a difference with my coaching. I worked on all of the points I have received from the coaches I have encountered on this trip and it culminated with this week. This week I taught all of the skill games that are modeled after famous football players. The way these games work is you do three different skills over the course of the drill and while you do the skill you must say what skill that is, such as “Ronaldo 1!” The drill works on soccer skills but it encourages the player to become more comfortable with their voice. Later on they then have the chance to choose what skill they want to do which reinforces the Self-Directed Learning part of CAC because they now make the decision on what skill to do instead of the coaches. What made me happy was that in the player’s spare time in between drills and during water breaks they were doing the skills and saying the skill aloud like I coached them. This is a reflection of their eagerness to learn and play football but it made me giddy inside knowing that I aided in the process of sustaining CAC curriculum past the time I leave. This was the first instant I felt the affect of coaching and it will definitely not be my last. During this past five weeks it has helped me realize that football must always be part of my life and coaching would be a great way to do that whether it be part time or full time.

    I have had an awesome time this past five weeks learning about football for social impact and I would like to take this time to thank Coaches Across Continents for giving me this opportunity. They say on their website that you will not understand what football for social impact is until you go on a trip and I cannot agree more. The experience I have had learning about different cultures through soccer has been one of the best of my life so far. I owe a special thank you to Mark for putting up with me for five weeks but also teaching me so much about coaching, being a leader, life, and myself. The concepts I have learned from you on this trip will serve me for the rest of my life. Thank you again Coaches Across Continents for this experience and hopefully I get a chance to work with you again in the future.

    img_6569

  • Soccer As A Vehicle For Learning

    November 22nd 2016. Discussing our first ever program with the Parikrma Foundation in Bangalore, India.

    This is my second week with Coaches Across Continents and we were in Bangalore, Karnataka, India with the Parikrma Foundation. It is an awesome foundation that takes marginalized children and puts them in a school in order to give them more opportunities when they get older. They have four different schools. Their program runs from kindergarten to twelfth grade and is much more than just schooling. They feed the children breakfast, lunch, and a protein shake and they have an awesome physical education program at all four of the schools. Then after school they have great sports programs for football, taekwondo, and athletics. Both in the classroom and out of the classroom they teach the children about the social issues they face and how to overcome them through Self-Directed Learning. The Parikrma Foundation gives these marginalized children a platform to fully express themselves both in the classroom and out of the classroom.

    We started the week off with Mark, Brian, and I. When we got to the volunteer house that we were staying at on Saturday, 12 November, we met up with Jamie Tomkinson, a talented coach based in Scotland from Michael Johnson’s Young Leaders Program. Monday and Tuesday a Community Impact Coach named Tejas from his own organization, Sparky Football, came to the training session to add a local presence to our staff. Then Wednesday night Fatma Ahmed came who is based in Tanzania and is also from Michael Johnson’s Young Leaders Programme. She was a woman of few words during the camp but conveyed some of the most impactful messages during the week. Finally, Nora from CAC joined us on Wednesday night and added another female presence amongst an entirely male dominated camp. It was a very diverse group from different cultures and different backgrounds that came together to make an awesome staff for the week with the Parikrma Foundation. It was also very nice to spend some time and learn from Brian who is a very seasoned teacher/coach and is also a Boston College Soccer Alumni like myself. It was a tremendous group to be apart of where I learned something from each person.

    This week I did a little bit more coaching than the past week in Rurka Kalan. It was easier to coach with the CAC staff giving me feedback and especially with the coaches from Parikrma that we coached being so in tune with the curriculum we wanted to teach. The Parikrma Foundation teaches a curriculum that is very similar to ours, which is Self-Directed Learning inside and outside the classroom. The only reason I saw that Parikrma needed our help was with their coaches implementing the Self-Directed Learning of social issues on the field. That was so easy though because they already understood the social issues but just needed our assistance in showing how to apply the social issues through sport. It also helped that they were talented soccer players themselves so it made the training sessions run very smoothly. Overall, it was a very good week because we were able to get Parikrma to understand the CAC curriculum and I was able to further better my coaching through the feedback I got from the players, the Michael Johnson Young Leaders, and CAC staff.

    During the week there was an exact moment where the participants realized that they could use the curriculum not only to raise awareness about social issues to their kids but to also produce a good football training session. It was on Wednesday during the Child Rights game. It is a keep away game with two teams but there is a box in each corner of the grid that you play the game in. Each corner represents any different right that children should have. Examples are right to education, right to healthcare, right to security, right to health and wellness, and many more. When your team passes to a recipient in one of the boxes they must yell a right that children should have. When you enter each square your team gets a point. When we played the game it started very slow. When we made the soccer points of spreading out, using the whole field, and switching the point of attack quickly, that is when the game started to flow and the ball was zipping around. Now each team was hitting each square a couple of times and yelling a right that children should have. They were having fun and when we brought them in to talk about the social learning you could see that they now understood the CAC curriculum. They were answering the Self-Directed Learning questions about child rights with ease and understood what they needed to do to convey this to their own children. We know that this is the moment they got the message because when we had a participant coach it back to us they hit each and every point they needed to while having the game flow. They now understood that soccer is just the vehicle in which to make their own players understand the social issues that surround them in their communities.

    dsc03293

  • Armenia Joins The CAC Family

    September 9th 2016. Andrea Montalbano writes about the start of our partnership with Girls of Armenia Leadership Soccer (GOALS). Andrea is a member of the CAC Business Advisory Team and the ASK For Choice Advisory Team.  She is also the author of the Soccer Sisters book series.

    The feel of fall is in the in New York air, but all we can talk about at our dinner table is our family’s recent trip to Armenia with Coaches Across Continents. We worked with CAC staff and Board Members Judith and Bill Gates in several different locations throughout the former Soviet Republic.

    In the capital Yerevan, we trained with fantastic coaches and learned how powerful and fun sport for social change and education can be.  We were based at the Football Federation of Armenia, the country’s governing body, and thrilled to work with their girl players and see the future leaders come alive on the field covering topics such as health and wellness, life skills, gender equality, problem-solving, and team building. Boys and girls were playing together, which was amazing because we learned that it doesn’t happen very often.

    In the small village of Tumanyan, we worked with a variety of educators and community leaders in partnership with the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF).  One of the most moving moments for me was to see men and women of all ages, debating and collaborating on policy toward the equitable role of women in society. The conversations were held in COAF “Smart Rooms” and using CAC technology – evidence to my eyes that conversations started on the field have impact off the field.

    Our family’s last stop (CAC would continue on to Gyumri) was at the beautiful UWC School in Dilijan, where the student body is from over 70 different nations! Talk about a worldview. It was truly inspiring to see so many young leaders from all over the world working together and getting excited to bring CAC into their community.

    One of the most impactful things I learned on the trip was to listen to the ideas of others, particularly the ideas of children.  So I thought it only appropriate to do a brief Q&A with the rest of my family and start with the kids.

    yt2-dsc_0052

    William Jebejian, 9

    Q: Did you have a favorite game, William?

    A: My favorite game was when you had to make the animal sounds (an adaptation of Mingle Mingle) and you had to switch. I liked how you kind of made a fool out of yourself, but it was really hard, because you were like, I think that was a lion, no it’s a cat! It’s really confusing. Meow! And it was so loud. And you don’t understand anything.  You were just running around. It was so fun.

    Q: What was the biggest lesson you learned through Coaches Across Continents?

    A: That you should not rely on people to solve your problems and you should try and solve your own problems without asking someone to do them for you.

    14079820_1773227859622612_4609550612084876390_n

    Lily Jebejian, 12

    Q: Did you meet anyone who inspired you?

    A: Sofik was an awesome leader and role model for all girls and even though I didn’t speak Armenian, I could understand by the way she coached.  One night, we got to go to her house and it was cool to see where she was from and the rest of her family.  They were welcoming and very sweet.

    Q: You play a lot of sports here in New York.  Were you surprised to see the differences in opportunities there?

    A: Seeing all the girls show up to the field in dresses and sandals and fancy shoes, I thought, they have never played soccer before and it seemed kind of bizarre to me because basically everyone I know has played soccer before and would never have shown up to a soccer practice like that.  It made me appreciate my town and the opportunities that I have more because I got to see how girls are not encouraged to play.

    Diron Jebejian, who is of Armenian descent.

    A: What surprised you the most about the curriculum?

    Q: That it actually has very little to do with soccer.  It was better than my expectations, because I learned a lot. They have a very unique way of getting people to come together to find a common way to communicate to ultimately work out some of their problems, collaborate, and have much better opportunity to solve problems, so it was much different than I thought.

    Q: Do you think that sport for social change can help Armenia?

    A: I do. I didn’t really understand what it meant until I spent time with CAC. But, I think the common interest of sport is a very good way to bring people together.

    Q: We introduced the ASK For Choice curriculum to Armenia. What do you think the biggest challenge is facing the women of the country?

    A: The biggest challenge for the country is economic opportunity.  Without more opportunity the country will continue to have people leave to find better jobs and better ways to support themselves.  So that’s clearly the challenge, and so the investment in education and investment in girls is one of the principle ways to change that equation so I think it’s all tied together.

    yt5-dsc_0238

     

  • 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.

    IMG_0305

  • Olympic Legend Michael Johnson Unveils New Initiative

    May 3rd 2016. Olympic legend Michael Johnson recently announced the launch of his Foundation. The Foundation’s initiative, spearheaded by the four-time Olympic gold medal winner, aims to provide young people from around the world with the tools they need to fulfil their potential through sport. By developing an in-depth, sustainable programme focusing on sporting performance, leadership development and community engagement, the Michael Johnson Foundation will give specially selected young people – all of whom come from a diverse range of challenging backgrounds – the confidence, skills and resources to make a positive impact on their futures.

    The young leaders once-in-a-lifetime journey will begin with an intensive course at the Michael Johnson Performance Center, Michael’s one-of-a-kind training ground in Dallas, where they will be provided cutting-edge support to enhance their sport performance skills, receive in-depth leadership training and get time and support to develop their ideas about how they can contribute to their communities and make a genuine difference for fellow young people back home. The young leaders will be travelling to Dallas this month from all over the world – Mexico, Nepal, UK, Cambodia, Armenia, Kenya, Uganda, India, Brazil and Tanzania – and were carefully selected not only for their potential to develop sporting talent but their capability to lead and a desire to contribute to their community.

    Regarding the desired outcomes for the young people on the programme, Michael said: “It’s not about finding the next Gold Medallist – although if someone has the potential then Michael Johnson Performance will identify and nurture that talent. It is our hope that successful young people from the course will become community leaders, or be the first of their family to go to college, or start their own sports charity or clubs. Success here means that every single young person who has gone through the course will have the skills and opportunity to achieve a better future.”

    Participant Freya Levy from the UK, who overcame muscular dystrophy to represent GB at wheelchair basketball, said; “I feel incredibly honoured to be chosen to be part of the program. To go to an elite top level performance centre and learn from a former Olympic Legend such as Michael Johnson is an incredible opportunity. I’m hoping the lessons I can learn will help me as I continue to pursue accessibility for disabled sport back in the UK. There is so much more I want to do in this area and I am so excited that the Michael Johnson Foundation will help me achieve it.”

    Coaches Across Continents is delighted to be a part of this initiative. As a global leader in sport for social impact, the organization was honored to be asked to facilitate the recruitment and selection of qualified young leaders for the project as well as supporting them before, during and after they take part in the course in Dallas. We are pleased to have been able to work with some of our implementing partners and offer this opportunity to their most promising young leaders. The selected young leaders have the capacity to become strong role models in their community and make the most of this life-changing project. We are extremely grateful to Michael Johnson, Beyond Sport and others who are helping these young people reach their full potential.

    Thanks to project partner Beyond Sport for the majority of this post.

    IMG_1759

    Fatma, from Zanzibar, is one of the selected young leaders.