• Gender Equality – Youth for Change

    December 21st, 2018. Global Citizen and Sky Blue FC Women’s Professional Soccer Player, McKenzie Meehan, writes about her last week on-field with Coaches Across Continents in Punjab, India with Community Partner YFC Rurka Kalan! 

    During my last week in India, we worked with YFC Rurka Kulan, a youth football club that also stands for “Youth for Change”. Rurka Kulan is a small village that relies heavily on its farming, but unfortunately has had many issues with substance abuse in the past. After my time here, it was very evident that YFC has become an oasis from this drug-ridden village and has granted many children the opportunity to make positive choices.

    Despite our short stay, I was very impressed by YFC’s huge influence within this community. We stayed right in the village within a family’s home so on our walk to and from the YFC facilities, we would often see many kids from the YFC programs walking home or to school. Other locals in the village were very welcoming and kind, and we were told it was because they truly appreciate those who come to help support YFC.

    In terms of our training, we focused a lot of gender equity, which is a large issue in remote villages like Rurka Kulan. Unfortunately, girls and women are not given the same access to education, employment and sport as boys and men, and few women are granted leadership positions. We had many important conversations with the participants about how these social norms can be challenged and ultimately changed within their community.

    Back in November, YFC Rurka Kulan hosted a 10-day event with Generation Amazing called “Girls Play, Girls Lead”, a huge event with teams from all over the world that focused on developing leadership qualities in young girls through football. We saw a video of the incredible event and we recognized several of the girls from programs that we worked with earlier in the trip!

    Throughout my four weeks in India, it has been promising to see how supportive and collaborative these Sport for Development programs are with one another. As another example, three of the organizations (Naz Foundation, Slum Soccer, and YFC Rurka Kulan) encouraged their girls to participate in “Goals For Girls”, a program that provides girls the opportunity to travel to Utah as part of a leadership summit. When my teammates and I at Sky Blue FC played against Utah Royals FC back in May, the Goals for Girls Summit was occurring, and I remember seeing all the girls up in the stands at the game. It’s crazy that it’s such a small world, but reflecting back on this moment really made this work feel even more meaningful with a very visible and real impact!

  • One Jaspreet, One Journey

    December 5th 2017. Community Impact Coach Jaspreet Kaur from YFC Rurka Kalan writes about working with CAC during our partnership with Naz Foundation in Bengaluru.

    My name is Jaspreet Kaur. I have done a post graduation course in my own language Punjabi from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India. In the last 4 years I have worked with Youth Football Club Rurka Kalan. My job is Training and Monitoring officer, this means I look after the Sports for Development sessions at twenty Government Primary schools near Rurka Kalan, sessions taught by our own Youth Mentors who I have helped train.

    This past week was my first time visiting Bengaluru. I was very happy to have this opportunity and I want say thank you so much to CAC. YFC Rurka Kalan has been working with CAC for five years now and I have got a chance to participate as a CIC in this training with the Naz Foundation. I want to share my experience with you regarding five days training of CAC with The Naz Foundation which was held at Don Bosco Mission Skills Institute at Bengaluru.

    The participants came from different cities such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Madurai and Bengaluru.

    The five day workshop was based on Leadership, Menstruation, HIV, Conflict Prevention and Gender Equity.

    In the first day some of girls and boys did not speak too much, but slowly slowly their voices got stronger during training. Some of them gave presentations and spoke in front of their other coaches for the first time which was so good to see.

    Naz Foundation is built around coaching Netball which means I learned all new skills for this sport this week. We even made some netball skills called  “Thilaga 1, 2, &3”.  Because the coaches were so experienced, they ended up creating games regarding Menstruation because it is a serious issue that is often overlooked because of taboos. I look forward to going back home and conducting sessions using these games with girls and youth mentors who are working in schools.

    The food of Bengaluru is good. Things I have tasted for the first time include edaly, vadda and Masala Dosa. I have also learned about new apps “Ola and Uber” which helped me get from Bengaluru Airport to Baanarghtta (Don Bosco). 

    It was a great experience for me to learn and share skills with junior coaches, senior coaches and project coordinators. Moreover, I have solved challenges regarding Monitoring evaluation with Charlie and am looking forward to returning to YFC with new skills!

     

  • Beautiful On The Inside And Out

    November 6th 2017. CAC Global Citizen and Harvard alum Heather ‘Action’ Jackson writes about her first CAC experience with YFC Rurka Kalan in Punjab, India.

    This is my first trip with Coaches Across Continents and the first week has already delivered as promised; thought provoking, inspiring, fulfilling, rewarding, fun, and full of firsts for me, the CAC team and the YFC Rurka Kalan partner participants. On the list of firsts, CAC & YFC announced a formal ASK for Choice partnership addressing gender equity, YFC hosted the first Workshop on Community Gender Policy in the community, and the coach mentors designed their own games to bring this policy to life. I also survived my first of many harrowing Indian driving escapades (apparently rules of the road and licenses are optional) realized for the first time just how important tea time is to all and also how the Punjabi are amazingly hospitable, generous, enjoyable and funny- talk about a quick wit.

    The YFC/CAC Workshop on Community Gender Policy was led by Judith Gates who did an amazing job addressing and engaging women and men from the local community. It was particularly inspiring to watch the YFC mentor coaches lead the breakout groups and encourage participants who would not normally speak out, to do so. An eye-opening first: one of the male attendees commented to CAC leader Charlie Crawford that he had never seen a female speak “like that” i.e. with a strong voice at a public gathering.

    On the field, we played 36 games over 5 days with a specific focus on the ASK for Choice curriculum that addresses gender equity and girls’ and womens’ rights. On a personal note, while this was something important to me from the get go, it became even more urgent as a goal based upon my first hand experience. Long story short: it’s not always awesome being a girl in India.

    Highlights on and off the field include:

    1. The success of the game Indonesia for Attitudes which addresses language and stereotypes. End result: girls voicing “I am strong!” and voicing “I am beautiful on the inside and the outside.
    2. In the words of one of the full time program coaches as we watched Scary Soccer, “All these coach mentors, and especially the girls, have become more expressive; compared to even the beginning of this week with CAC you can see they now want to take the lead and actively participate in the games and discussions. You can hear their voices right now.”
    3. The sense of community among the coach mentors and staff at YFC – including sing alongs after session, the dance off post awarding of certificates, selfies at tea time, and so, so many laughs.
    4. The post week visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest Sikh temple, with Charlie from CAC and Pradeep from Naz Foundation. A must see if you make it to the area; busy yet tranquil at the same time and amazingly beautiful at night all lit up.

    I look forward to following the progress and expansion of YFC Rurka Kalan in partnership with CAC and to all my new friends at YFC: stay strong and beautiful, on the inside and the outside!

    – Cheers, Action

  • CAC on Beyond Sport Awards Shortlist

    May 22nd 2017. We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in the Global Impact of the Year Award category at the 2017 Beyond Sport awards! We are joining a prestigious list of nominees in this category which includes Women Win and Skateistan. As a global organization Coaches Across Continents is honored to be recognized in this way by Beyond Sport. In 2017 we have partnerships on six continents with a wide range of organizations, corporations, governments and communities who use sport to educate young people. Two of our partners, YFC Rurka Kalan in Punjab, India and Grupo Internacional de Paz in Colombia, are also shortlisted for the awards so we wish them congratulations.

    This is the 5th time CAC has been shortlisted at a Beyond Sport awards. Of these nominations we have previously had two wins; ‘Best New Project‘ for the Hat-Trick Initiative in 2009 and ‘Corporate of the Year‘ for our partnership with Chevrolet in 2014. In 2015 we were also shortlisted for the UNICEF Safeguarding Children in Sport award.

    We would like to thank Beyond Sport for the recognition and all of our partners, Community Impact Coaches, Global Citizens, advisory board, program participants and supporters for their ongoing support. Our success is your success! The 2017 Beyond Sport awards take place in New York from July 25th-27th. We are looking forward to attending and hope to see you there. For the full shortlist please go to this link.

  • Experiencing Self-Directed Learning

    November 14th 2016. CAC Global Citizen Dylan Pritchard wrote about his first experience with CAC and Self-Directed Learning in Punjab, India during our partnership with YFC Rurka Kalan.

    This was my first week being a Global Citizen with CAC and it could not have gone better. This week we were in Rurka Kalan, Punjab, India working with the Youth Football Club (YFC). During my preparation for the first week I had no idea what to expect but with YFC in their third year of the Hat-Trick Initiative, it gave me a perfect introduction to what CAC is all about.

    At about 1 a.m. Sunday morning, amidst all the smoke and pollution, we pulled up to the YFC facility. The building was equipped with a classroom, a dinning hall, offices, and some rooming for guests. I came to find out later that they also provide room and board for twenty-four football players to play for the YFC competitive teams. We were served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I got a taste for the culture because the food was traditional Punjab food, which is not as spicy as I thought it would be. The rooms we stayed in were great and we had nothing to complain about. Then the next day we walked out to an awesome grass pitch with big concrete stands, goals, and all the other equipment we needed. Now it was time to coach.

    I’ve done some coaching before but I’ve never done it for social impact or to incorporate Self-Directed Learning. To sit back and watch Markus and Mark my first week was a great experience because I got a feel for what the coaching style was. I grew up believing sports are like life so it was awesome to see Markus and Mark introduce a game and then relate it to the social issues specific to their community and culture. The topics that were discussed this week were gender equity, conflict prevention, drugs and alcohol, and having your own voice paired with communication. They would not just introduce a game and then say this game is for this social issue but they would ask the participants what they think this game is for and walk through it step-by-step on how they think this correlates with a certain social issue. By doing this they were able to introduce the questioning of social and cultural issues through Self-Directed Learning.

    The coolest experience this week was on Thursday when we went to visit schools and after school programs to see the coaches that Markus and Mark coached and see how they did with their players. It was great to see that all the coaches did a good job but it was even better to see them have room for improvement, which is very promising. That was not the coolest part though. The most satisfying part was after each visit; every single kid and player would come and shake our hands with a huge smile on their faces. It showed the respect that the coaches had for the CAC curriculum to have their kids come and shake our hands but it also showed the fun the kids were having while participating in the curriculum. It was awesome to see in the first week the effect that CAC has on a community and see coaching for a social impact accompanied with Self-Directed Learning is working.

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  • Excitement, Passion and Learning in Punjab

    CAC Community Impact Coach (CIC) Guru Singh discusses his work with CAC and YFC Rurka Kalan in Punjab, India.

    December 2nd 2015. It was my second year working with CAC as a CIC which makes me very happy. I still remember the 14th of November, 2013 when I participated in a CAC workshop for the first time. The workshop gave me a new way to use football for social impact. This experience changed many things for me. I had been coaching for one and a half years, but I had never used football to address social issues.

    In November this year I joined CAC for the 2nd time as a CIC and I went back to Rurka Kalan, which is a village in the state of Punjab. I assisted Markus Bensch who is one CAC’s Self-Directed Learning (SDL) Coaches. Markus is a great mentor, coach, motivator and a friend. I learned many new games during the one week coaching course with coaches from YFC which stands for Youth Football Clubs as well as Youth For Change. YFC have run a football academy in Rurka Kalan for the past 13 years. From the very beginning they have focused on the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse among the youth and have encouraged them to invest in their education by being involved in sport.

    I am fond of all the CAC games but two of my favorites are ‘Head-Catch’ and ‘95% Football’. 95% Football is a football game but without a ball which is the best part of the game. The rules are almost the same as normal football. You can pass, dribble and score but the only difference is the player who has the ball has to have his or her hand on their head. You can pass the ball by shouting the name of your teammate and you can score by simply crossing the goal line with the hand on your head. The other team can steal the ball by tagging the player that has the ball. This game causes a lot of conflict and cheating. The players need to discuss the rules of the game and also stick to them in order to make the game flow. The participants from YFC had a great time when we played this game and it was impressive to see how teams improved their strategies in order to score more often and win the game.

    YFC is a professional football academy with different disciplines and various other development programs for the town youth to help them change their lives. It was CAC’s second time to teach and learn together with the coaches from YFC and I was happy to be a part of it. It was amazing to see the coaches participate with the same interest and passion as last year. They were eager to learn and gain knowledge from the program. I was particularly impressed by the women who participated in the program. How they raised their voice, spoke up in front of the group and got very competitive during the games.

    I observed that CAC has an impact on everyone who participates in their program. CAC has given me a better understanding of other communities, because I was able to learn about their lifestyle and their culture. It was interesting for me to realize that many social issues are the same in different parts of India. Women and children are the most vulnerable and therefore child abuse and gender inequality are two big issues that CAC always addresses.

    My journey as a CIC with CAC has been wonderful so far, full of excitement, passion and great learning. It’s always football but never the same. I am always excited about the new skills, games and social messages I learn. I feel very privileged to be part of such a great organization and I promise to not keep my knowledge and skills for myself, but share it with coaches from my home community and wherever people are eager to change the society for better.

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