• Football for Health & Wellness

    We can all agree that being active and playing sports is an incredibly healthy decision for our physical well-being. More and more people are beginning to understand how important a role sports can also play in improving our emotional well-being. CAC uses football to teach both of these messages. We also use football games to educate our participants, who then educate the youth they work with, on how to stay healthy, to practice good hygiene, to think about the food and fluids they put into their bodies, and to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.

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    At the most fundamental level we teach Health & Wellness games in order to get the heart pounding, the lungs gasping for air, the muscles aching, the sweat pouring forth. One such game is Marta for Health & Wellness. In this game there are cones scattered about in a space with about 3-4 yards between each one. We will have two groups in this game – one group will work, the other will rest. Each will go for 30 seconds and in that time they have to get to as many cones as possible doing different movements at each one. For example, the first round they might touch the cone with their hand igniting more of a speed and changing direction challenge. Then they might jump over the cone with two feet – over and back – before they move on to another cone. Then maybe one foot, then the other. There are all sorts of variations to this game, but they all have the same purpose – get to work!

    Either after we finish, or between each exercise, we ask the participants how they feel. We see what information we can pull out of them, not as a test, but to help them understand why it is important to think about exercising in ways that extend beyond becoming better footballers. We ask pointed questions, as we do not want to lecture but, rather, to encourage the participants to think for themselves. In this manner our discussions about health and wellness become locally relevant and we learn about the various cultural factors that influence our ability to stay healthy, in body and in mind.

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    These Health & Wellness games lay a strong foundation for us to build from when going more in-depth with topics such as nutrition and sexual health. One of our long-time partners, Whizzkids United, has the most comprehensive HIV education program that we have encountered in our work. Their new Football for Hope Center is at their office next to the hospital they partner with in Edendale, a community outside of Durban, South Africa. This relationship allows them to not only educate about HIV/AIDS but to also incorporate HIV testing and counseling, and thorough, long-term follow-up care into their programs. It is small-scale, but it is big impact. Our role in this partnership is helping Whizzkids capitalize on their charge of the Football for Hope Center. Their coaches learn all of our games with particular attention paid to our HIV module. These games embody the messages about sexual health meaning whatever happens during the game is what shapes the discussion.

    Our Monitoring & Evaluation shows that before our program only 29% of our participants could teach young people how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS using a football game, whereas after a CAC training, that number jumps to 93%.

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  • Whizzkids United, CAC and Dance Moves

    1391704_532537620162322_1544185932_n17 October 2013. As we develop our valued partnership with Whizzkids United, Coaches Across Continents staff set off for Durban, South Africa for a week of training. The program took place about an hour outside of the city in a community called Edendale, down the road from the Whizzkids Health Academy and future location of their Football for Hope Center.  Whizzkids United is the best in the business with regard to health and particularly HIV education, but it is our job to help them rope more football into their curriculum, redefining their place in the realm of sport for development. With small help from Nora Dooley recovering from malaria, Nick Gates led the Whizzkids coaches through a variety of CAC games.

    Though we always want the focus to be on the trainers during our programs, youth involvement is never discouraged. Our week in Edendale was different from other trainings as we taught fewer games, but saw immediate impact. Three-hour sessions each day allowed us only one hour to teach the coaches as many CAC social impact games as possible before the pitch was overrun by eager young footballers. The Whizzkids coaches would then take the games they just learned and immediately work with youth of all ages from the community. We allotted two hours for this coaching portion, but each day lasted longer than the one before as the participants never wanted to leave the field. As the week progressed, the Whizzkids trainers came into their own as football coaches for social development.

    There were a few games in particular where the impact was tangible, and both the coaches and the participants truly grasped the social messages. On the second day of training Nick led the coaches plus 85 youth of varying ages in a huge game of “Mingle Mingle”. A common favorite among many groups we work with, “Mingle Mingle” sets the stage for players to solve their own problems, finding solutions without the help of their coach or teacher. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for Nick to show off his dance moves. Another game that really tested both the Whizzkids coaches and the Edendale youth was Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund. This is a game where players form lines and each line has ownership of a number, for example from 1 to 5. When the coach calls out two numbers (1 and 3!), then those two lines have to switch positions faster than the two lines of the opposing team. This game challenges participants to, again, find their own solutions to the problem they are faced with.1381687_532538073495610_625742006_n

    With every program we run all over the world, our main goal as an organization is to find the ways in which we can best help our partners and the communities they work in. This is, naturally, different for each and every program. CAC’s adaptability is one of the many strengths that powers our organization. In this particular case in Edendale, South Africa, priorities shifted towards the incoming Football for Hope Center. An incredible opportunity for both Whizzkids United and the people of Edendale and surrounding communities, the Center also presents a daunting responsibility. Being tasked with improving, and somewhat defining, Whizzkids’ use of football for social impact, CAC wants to ensure the organization is capitalizing on every way such a Center can enhance its environment. Our focus, therefore, for the week and the future of our partnership, is to provide Whizzkids with the necessary training and resources to exceed the expectations that come with running a Football for Hope Center. After this week, we are very excited about the prospects and look forward to the opening of the Center in just two months time.

  • For Whizz Kids United, South Africa it takes a community to make a difference!

    whizz2March 18th, 2013.  Whizz Kids United celebrated International Women’s Day by bringing 150 girls and boys together at their Health Academy in Edndale, South Africa. Whizz Kids had a girls-only football tournament that not only brought young women but also bringing many boys out to come and support the girls playing. The large numbers of the boys showing up to support the girls tournament showed the positive progress that has been made for girls in the area.

    Organized sport for Women throughout the area of Edndale is very rare, making this International Women’s Day very special for the young girls who were able to participate in the tournament. It was the first time for many of the girls to play in a mediated environment. The winning team of the tournament received a trophy and gold medals. All participants received bronze medals and were presented with red roses. It took a community to run the tournament at the Whizz Kids site, as donations were made for roses, food and even tickets for all participants to attend a Maritzburg United FC game!

    Coaches Across Continents has partnered with Whizz Kids United since 2011.

  • WhizzKids United, South Africa write about Coaches across Continents

    August 2nd, 2011.  WKU continues partnership with Coaches Across Continents.

    The South African schools were closed for two weeks in July due to the holidays, so our Life Skills Trainers had the chance to attend a football skills workshop with Coaches Across Continents. WhizzKids United started the partnership with Coaches Across Continents last year. This year Paul Gibbons came to Durban to share his knowledge with our Life Skills Trainers from Umlazi, Edendale and Northern eThekwini. Gibbo has many years of coaching experience in the UK and the USA as well as worked for the youth academy of Premier League Club West Bromwich Albion.

    In the 3-day-workshop Gibbo taught about the Coerver Training Method, which is used by the best football clubs in the world such as Champions League winner FC Barcelona. The Life Skills trainers had the priceless chance to develop their own skills under the guidance of a highly qualified coach and to learn how to share their skills with the kids. All of the workshop participants visibly enjoyed the days out on the football field. The activities were so entertaining that even some of the Office based staff, couldn′t resist to come out and kick a ball with the Life Skills Trainers. WhizzKids United is already eager for another workshop with Coaches Across Continents next year. For this year we say “Thank you Coaches Across Continents for this partnership.”

  • Coaches across Continents announces 2011 Community Partner Hat-Trick Initiative schedule

    January 25th, 2011.  Coaches across Continents has announced their schedule for 2011 which includes programs in 13 countries.

    “The demand for our program continues to grow and our Business and Coach Advisory Board looked at partnership request applications from more than 50 communities in 26 new countries.  We met at the NSCAA Baltimore event to discuss our 2011 schedule and we are excited about working with all our 2011 partners.”  Tim Wheaton, Coach Advisory Board

    Coaches across Continents will run programs in Botswana, Ghana, India, Israel, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, USA, Zambia and one other country to be chosen by a Hat-Trick partner.

    * partnership request applications are still under consideration from Brasil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Holland, Liberia, Nigeria, Panama, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.