• Clouds and Humans

    August 3rd, 2017. Self-Directed Learning Educator, Ashlyn Hardie, reflects on week in Vancouver, B.C. working with partners Hope and Health

    In my mind, the best thing about humans is that they are all different. Unfortunately, in my mind, the worst thing about the world is that it makes being different something to be punishable by ridicule, physical abuse, public shaming, inequality, ect. But why? If everything were beautiful, nothing would be. If everyone were smart, no one would be. If everything and everyone were the exact same, none of the qualities we love about ourselves and our loved ones (the qualities that make them/us unique or special in our minds) would mean anything. If everyone is everything then we are all just the same. Does that make us all nothing? In that world, none of us are special, or smart, or kind, or bold. We all can be all of these things in our own way. But if we are all just the exact same… in that world we are one of many, and in my mind that would be a shame.

    I think the best thing about my job is that it constantly has me thinking about who I am, what I believe, and what I know. What I know for sure is that people interpret the world and express themselves differently. We all have a story, and none of them are the same. Those stories derive from where we came from, who raised us, what bad luck we caught, which chemical levels are in our brains, and what we are drawn to in the world.

    For me a smile means happiness, light, joy, or fearlessness. For others, smiling is a mask, a physical escape, a Band-Aid over a wound, or a self-defense mechanism. When I see someone’s smile, I look to see if it is also in his or her eyes. That is how I interpret a really happy smile, where as for others, if you were not frowning they might assume you are happy. The way one person expresses himself or herself may mean something completely different if another does the same.

    If every person at CAC were magically on the same continent, at the same time, near the same place and we were all staring at the exact same cloud… we may all see something different. But, when we all start calling out what animal, vehicle, thing of the planet, whatever it is that we see – instead of telling one another that is crazy, or wrong, or silly – we would look at that cloud, tilt our heads, open our minds and try to see what they are seeing too.

    What is so interesting to me, and sometimes very sad, is that we can do this when it is something that doesn’t matter. “We”, meaning the people of the world. Something as insignificant as what a cloud looks like warrants an open mind and accepting ear. But when it comes to politics, religion, philosophy, business strategy, gender issues, race, child raising, favorite sports teams…  YOU NAME IT (all of the important stuff), if people do not say or do what we (the people of the planet) believe, or what we want to hear, or what we are comfortable with – we (this is me unfairly lumping the human race all into one) judge them, we put them down, shut them up, argue our point, and so on. When this happens, THAT is what makes being different a bad thing. But, when we are talking about clouds and our minds are open, being different is something that brings us closer together. When we are talking about clouds, perspective is something that makes us smile together and appreciate each other. Perspective otherwise is something that we sometimes fear because it disrupts the world we know.

    How does all of this apply to my trip to Vancouver? Working with Hope and Health? Talking about First Nations/ Reservations struggles? Well – these kids are bullied, judged, looked down on for no reason better than the fact that they are of First Nations descent. A story that we all know, and are fully aware, that the First Nations people were not the bad guys. Worse, the intergenerational trauma these kids have passed down to them and the hardships they see everyday (substance abuse, alcohol abuse, young pregnancy, child abuse, gender inequality, poverty, bullying, discrimination) are all reasons the people in the world around them, shut these kids out. Instead of understanding them, accepting them, appreciating their difference, helping them, learning from them… these kids, their families, are treated like outsiders in their own homes. The most beautiful thing I realized about the coaches that are going to be working on the reservations with the First Nations kids, is that they want those kids to accept them. Their biggest concern was learning how to help those kids trust them as coaches, take them in, open their hearts to them. Because these kids have spent their life being shut out for their difference, that is the only way they know to express themselves. The remarkable thing about these coaches, is that they are so willing to see past those surfaced expressions and are looking to find a way to break through and make sure they express themselves in a way that those kids will understand and interpret to know they are valued and important, and worthy – Because THEY ARE.

    I would like to challenge anyone who reads this:

    Dare to be different. Work to be THE difference you want to see. Strive to accept others difference.

    Be your happiness. Be proud. Be one of one.

    And love yourself – just because you are you.

  • Experiencia con CAC

    April 26, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Lina Restrepo, shares thoughts about the first On-Field training of our Nike and Postobón partnership in Bogotá, Colombia – this one with Colombianitos in Ciudad Bolívar. Lina has participated in CAC programs for several years as part of our partnership with Inder Medellín.

    En ciudad bolívar se resaltan frecuentemente historias de violencias a través de los medios, vías de comunicación que reproducen constantemente mensajes cargados de estereotipos con adolescentes, delincuentes, abuso de sustancias, hurtos, discapacidad cognitiva, entre otros; y compartir con personas de Bogotá, Francia, Inglaterra, estados unidos y Medellín en este lugar, me hace vivenciar diversidad cultural, componente necesario para la reconstrucción del tejido social en Colombia y en diferentes lugares del mundo con una situación similar.

    En algunos momentos llega la pregunta ¿Qué tiene Colombia, que se hace invisible para los colombianos y tan llamativo para los extranjeros? En esta primera experiencia en un hostal, compartí el cuarto con una persona que venía desde Holanda a trabajar como voluntaria por tres meses para estudiar las aguas del Lago Tota, el cual mencionaba como un recurso fundamental del ecosistema no sólo para Colombia sino para el planeta entero.

    Este es un ejemplo del interés en el territorio colombiano de personas de otros lugares que reconocen en nosotros cualidades y potencialidades que por momentos dejamos de ver y vienen a recordárnoslo.

    Dentro de las personas participantes al entrenamiento resalto los entrenadores (con experiencia en el fútbol profesional colombiano) y deportistas (jóvenes y adultos, líderes de cambio de diferentes fundaciones en Colombia, que hacen uso del deporte y la recreación como herramienta de transformación social.

    Una de las preguntas que movilizó a la imaginación y la creatividad dentro del grupo de líderes, ¿Es posible jugar un partido de fútbol sin balón? En especial para los entrenadores que a veces se quedan en metodologías tradicionales. (95% Fútbol 😊)

    Agradezco a CAC los espacios de Juegos y Diálogos alrededor de conceptos de equidad, igualdad, género, cultura, fenómenos, violencias, problemas, problemáticas entre otros. Se amplía pues, la caja de herramientas al recibir los currículos de CAC y ASK for choice con una variedad de juegos por compartir.

    Experience with CAC – Bogota, Colombia 2017 

    In Ciudad Bolívar stories of violence frequently emerge through the media, manners of communication that constantly reproduce messages charged with stereotypes about adolescents, delincuants, substance abuse, theft, mental disability, among others; and to share with people in Bogotá, France, England, USA, and Medellín in this place, allows me to experience cultural diversity, a necessary component for the reconstruction of the social fabric in Colombia and in different places in the world with a similar situation.

    In some moments the question arrives: What is it about Colombia that makes it invisible to Colombians and so attractive to foreigners? In this first experience in a hostel, I shared the room with a person who came from Holland to work as a volunteer for three months to study the waters of Lake Tota, that which was mentioned as a fundamental resource of the ecosystem not only for Colombia but for the entire planet.

    This is an example of the interest in the Colombian territory of people from other places that recognize in us qualities and potential that we, at times, stop seeing and they come to remind us.

    Among the participating people in the training were coaches (with experience in Colombian professional football) and sports people (youth and adults); leaders of change from different foundations in Colombia that make use of sport and recreation as a tool for social transformation.

    One of the questions that mobilized the imagination and creativity within the group of leaders was: “Is it possible to play a game of football without a ball?” Especially for the coaches that sometimes rely on traditional methodologies. (In reference to CAC’s 95% Football)

    I am grateful to CAC for the spaces of games and dialogue around concepts of equity, equality, gender, culture, phenomenons, violence, problems, and issues, among others. The toolbox expands upon receiving the CAC and ASK for Choice curricula with the variety of games to share.

  • PASIÓN HECHA ACCIÓN

    April 25, 2017. Community Impact Coach Daniela writes about experience traveling with CAC to Ecuador to work with partners Futbol Mas

    Passion Made Action

    Mi nombre es Daniela Gutierrez y con una experiencia única, en Perú y Ecuador; agradezco a Coaches Across Continents, que gracias a su programa CIC tuve la oportunidad de vivir 3 semanas inolvidables; donde compartí aprendizajes invaluables junto a cada persona, que me motivan siempre a seguir aprendiendo y compartiendo.

    My name is Daniela Gutierrez and with a unique experience in Perú and Ecuador I am grateful to CAC. Thanks to their CIC program I had the opportunity to live 3 unforgettable weeks where I shared invaluable knowledge with each person, and which motivated me to always continue learning and sharing.

    Ecuador-Guayaquil fue especial; porque vi niños participando de nuestro programa, profes de otras provincias que llegaron con tanta energía y esos deseos de cada uno, por compartir. Me gusto ver como exploraban su talento transformándolo en grandes ideas, creando juegos y dinámicas increíbles, el ultimo día todos y todas estabamos emocionados, agradecidos, orgullosos de seguir en la misma sintonía. Sé que se fueron con ganas de más, de seguir compartiendo en sus comunidades y generando impacto social. Solo sé que el gran equipo de Futbol más Ecuador seguirá contribuyendo en este proceso, generando más oportunidades para todo Ecuador.

    Guayaquil, Ecuador was special because I saw youth participating in our program, teachers from other provinces that arrived with so much energy and the desire from each one to share. I loved to see how they explored their talent, transforming it into great ideas, creating games and incredible activities. On the last day everyone was emotional, grateful, and proud to continue to the same tune. I know that they all left with the urge for more, to continue sharing in their communities and creating social impact. I just know that the great team of Fútbol Más Ecuador will continue contributing to this process, generating more opportunities for all of Ecuador.

    Recuerdo aquel 2014, mi primer año con CAC en Perú; desde entonces soy un agente de cambio social, utilizando como herramientas potentes juego y deporte; creando espacios donde cada vivencia se trasforme en una experiencia significativa. Logrando que las personas seas protagonistas de los cambios en sus comunidades y en sus propias vidas; buscando igualdad de oportunidades para todos y todas (‘todos somos impacto social’).

    I remember in 2014, my first year with CAC in Perú. Since then I have been an agent for social change, using sport and play as powerful tools; creating spaces where every experience is transformed into something significant. Achieving that people are protagonists for change in their communities and in their own lives; searching for equality of opportunities for everyone – ‘we are all social impact’!

    Siento personalmente la necesidad interminable de seguir aprendiendo siempre de los demás, cada persona es un mundo lleno de tanto, involucrándome, teniendo la convicción que no hay límites para seguir aprendiendo y que nunca debo parar. Sueño que en 2020 más y más personas alrededor del mundo, transformen su pasión en acciones que nos permitan construir un mundo mejor.

     I feel personally the unending need to always continue learning from others; that every person is a world full of so much, including me, and having the conviction that there are no limits to learning and that I should never stop. I dream that in 2020 more and more people around the world transform their passion into actions that allow us to build a better world.