Wednesday
Jul302014

Campamento at Fútbol Sin Fronteras

By: Kara McMahon

School vacations are typically relaxing -- a well-deserved break from academic demands. Here at Fútbol Sin Fronteras Granada (FSF), vacation days are another excuse to play more soccer and form new friendships.

The high school campers with a few FSF staff membersFSF took advantage of school break in mid-July to host a group of twelve US high school students for a week of cultural exchange and soccer coaching. For the girls of FSF, the annual Campamento (camp) for high school students is one of the most exciting weeks of the year -- a chance to play as much soccer as possible as well as build the FSF community. And for the American camp participants, a week with FSF provides a chance to experience Nicaraguan life and build cross-cultural relationships on and off the soccer field. 

Our outstanding group of high school students -- Margaux, Hannah, Melise, Zoe, Max, Ashley, Coleman, Mollie, Eli, Spencer, Megan, and Sydney -- quickly bonded with each other and the Nicaraguan coaches. Each day, they traveled from their home-stays in a localbarrio (neighborhood) to neighboring public and private schools where they ran soccer-oriented gym classes for girls. From the schools, the students ventured to historical sites in and around Granada -- the Cemetery of Granada, Parque Central (Central Park), and the Merced Church as well as to the Masaya Artisanal Market and Laguna de Apoyo (Lagoon of Support). In the afternoons, the high school students kept busy by preparing soccer and teamwork juegitos (games) for the dozens of soccer-crazed FSF girls aged 7-17. 

Although most students did not speak Spanish,  they bonded with the girls by using soccer as a platform for dialogue, laughter, and friendship. Whether interacting at the FSF Tres Pisos headquarters or out at the soccer field, the excitement of Campamento 2014 could be seen, heard, and felt throughout the streets of Granada. High school students and girls walked side-by-side from the FSF office to the soccer field, chased each other playfully in "Tiger Tail Tag," and laughed and shook hands after a scrimmage between campers and FSF participants. 

We want to thank our camp group for their extraordinary service to Fútbol Sin Fronteras and welcome them to our family. We hope that they will stay in touch in some way -- whether through emails or Facebook, working with our partner sites in the US, or joining us in a few years for our college camp! ¡Nos Vemos! (See you soon!)

Wednesday
Jul302014

Campamento at Fútbol Sin Fronteras

By: Kara McMahon

School vacations are typically relaxing -- a well-deserved break from academic demands. Here at Fútbol Sin Fronteras Granada (FSF), vacation days are simply another excuse to play more soccer and form new friendships.

The high school campers outside the FSF Tres Pisos officeFSF took advantage of school break in mid-July to host a group of twelve high school students from the US for a week of cultural exchange and soccer coaching. For the girls of FSF, the annual Campamento (camp) for high school students is one of the most exciting weeks of the year -- a chance to play as much soccer as possible as well as build the FSF community. And for the American camp participants, a week with FSF provides a chance to experience Nicaraguan life and build cross-cultural relationships on and off the soccer field. 

Our outstanding group of high school students -- Margaux, Hannah, Melise, Zoe, Max, Ashley, Coleman, Mollie, Eli, Spencer, Megan, and Sydney -- quickly bonded with each other and the Nicaraguan coaches. Each day, they traveled from their home-stays in a local barrio (neighborhood) to neighboring public and private schools where they ran soccer-oriented gym classes for girls. From the schools, the students ventured to historical sites in and around Granada -- the Cemetery of Granada, Parque Central (Central Park), and the Merced Church as well as to the Masaya Artisanal Market and Laguna de Apoyo (Lagoon of Support). In the afternoons, the high school students kept busy by preparing soccer and teamwork juegitos (games) for the dozens of soccer-crazed FSF girls aged 7-17. 

Campers leading an activity with second graders at a local primary schoolAlthough most students did not speak Spanish,  they bonded with the girls by using soccer as a platform for dialogue, laughter, and friendship. Whether interacting at the FSF Tres Pisos headquarters or out at the soccer field, the excitement of Campamento 2014 could be seen, heard, and felt throughout the streets of Granada. High school students and girls walked side-by-side from the FSF office to the soccer field, chased each other playfully in "Tiger Tail Tag," and laughed and shook hands after a scrimmage between the US high schoolers and the FSF girls. 

We want to thank our camp group for their extraordinary service to Fútbol Sin Fronteras and welcome them to our family. We hope that they will stay in touch in some way -- whether through emails or Facebook, working with our partner sites in the US, or joining us in a few years for our college camp! ¡Nos Vemos! (See you soon!)

Wednesday
Jul232014

My Journey to the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp

By: Hel Say

In June, Hel Say, SWB Oakland coach and former participant, was one of 3 SWB coaches selected to attend a two-week long UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp.


Before I went to the UNOSPD (United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace) Youth Leadership camp, I was a bit nervous. I was not so sure about what I was going to learn over the two weeks. I  thought that I was not going to make friends, and I thought that all of the people there would be serious. I was wrong. They were all just like me: friendly, and they make other people smile.  I had a wonderful experience at the UNOSDP camp, and I will never forget what I learned there.  I met incredible people who changed my perspectives towards life. They are all smart, unique, and inspirational.

We started our first day with an introduction from Mr. Wilfried Lemke, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace: “ You have been selected to participate in this event because you’ve already shown in your communities that sport can be a powerful tool for development and peace.”  Over the next 12 days, I learned  about all different sports, fun energizer games, and team building games that I can take back to my community. I learned so much, which is making me a stronger leader. I learned about adapted physical activities for those with a disability. It’s so difficult to play basketball in a wheelchair, so it’s helped me to open my mind and to realize how strong people can be. I admire them a lot after trying out wheelchair basketball.


Sport has the power to change the world.  They taught us about conflict resolution, education, sports, and peace building.  We learned about safeguarding and protection, and how it’s our job to keep children safe.  Sport can be used to educate about HIV/AIDS prevention, peacebuilding & entrepreneurship, and public health. We also learned about inclusion, which was my favorite part. We must include everyone in our activities.

While we were there, we had the chance to go to John F. Kennedy Space Center MPS.  It was awesome. I also learned about different sports that I had never tried before. For example, taekwondo is about  harmony of mind and body, self-control, and self-discipline. Each one of us set our goals and made a plan for achieving our goals. To achieve my goal, I need my teammates’ help.  I felt very emotional on the last day of our camp because my time together with my friends had come to an end. It was an amazing experience, and I appreciate all of the wonderful people I met.

Thank you to Right To Play, UNOSDP, Global Action Initiatives, IIc, IMG Academy, and all the organizations that made this experience possible.


LOVE,

Hel Say!


 

Wednesday
Jul162014

World Cup Legacy

Our World Cup legacy
By Mary McVeigh - Program Director

Coach Hassell at the UN Leadership Camp
Coach Hassell at the UN Leadership Camp

The Brazil games have all wrapped up, the trophy has been awarded, and players are headed home. There has been much talk surrounding the legacy of this World Cup and other mega events, and their impact on the communities and nations in which they are hosted. That discussion is both warranted and complicated, but for Soccer Without Borders Nicaragua one of the most powerful legacies of this World Cup lies in the hearts, minds, and abilities of two of our coaches.

The girls of SWB Nicaragua are the central focus of this program, and their needs, dreams, and ideas keep us on our toes constantly. Yet the unsung heroes who support our girls to bring those ideas and dreams to life are our Nicaraguan coaches. Our team of leaders, all of whom began as volunteers, has an average tenure of 46 months. That's nearly four years of daily innovating, teaching, supporting, listening, and problem solving with and for their teams.  It is no surprise that 91% of our girls said they think of their coach as someone they can go to with a serious problem.

Our coaches come from the very same community as our girls, and face the very same obstacles, making their perseverance and consistency that much more remarkable. Opportunities for personal development are rare, and education systems fall short in both quality and accessibility. For that reason, we could not be prouder that this June two of our Nicaraguan coaches were selected for two fully sponsored, global, leadership development opportunities: the Sony Global Youth Forum in Brazil, and the United Nations Youth Leadership Camp in Florida. 

Estefan headed to Brazil, joining just 35 peers selected from organizations around the world, to discuss the legacy of the World Cup and opportunities to create change through soccer in his home community. Hassell, a former participant-turned-coach, headed to the U.S. for two weeks of camp aimed at strategies for integrating life-skills training into sport, and practicing leadership skills while building cross-cultural bonds. 

Both returned to Granada energized by new knowledge and mentors, and inspired to deepen the impact of our program for our girls. That's a legacy that will ripple for years to come.

Thank you for investing in all that makes this program possible, most especially our local mentors and leaders. 

All the best,

Mary

p.s. Today is a GlobalGiving Bonus Day, meaning that all donations are matched! If you have been considering contributing again to the program, please consider donating today.
Coach Techo in Brazil at the Sony Youth Forum
Coach Techo in Brazil at the Sony Youth Forum

Links:

 

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Sunday
Jun292014

World Refugee Day 2014

 


 
Today, June 20, 2014 is World Refugee Day. World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations to honor the men, women, and children who have been forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, violence and conflict. 
 
Did you know? 
  • According to the UN, as of mid-2013 there were 11.1 million refugees globally, which includes 600,000 additional refugees in the first half of 2013.
  • There are currently about 262,000 refugees living in the U.S. today.  
More than 70% of Soccer Without Borders USA participants are refugees. Participants come from 45 distinct countries including Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, Iraq, Sudan, and Somalia, among others. These youth come to the U.S. with a wide range of language skills and formal education. They also come with great aspirations and, when supported, can achieve amazing things.
   
SWB has received national media attention for its innovative work supporting refugee and immigrant students:
 
                                          
   Los Angeles Times                                  Baltimore Sun                              How Youth Learn

 

 More Spring Highlights

  • Coaches Hassell of FSF Granada, Hel Say and Omar, both of SWB Oakland, are currently participating at the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) Youth Leadership Camp. 
  • Soccer Without Borders is hiring! We have two Americorps positions to fill at the SWB Boston office and program. Learn more hereand join our team!

Soccer Without Borders Coaches Head to Brazil for Global Youth Forum!

Coaches Ye-Htet (Tet) Soe of SWB Oakland and Estefan (Techo) Bolaños of FSF Granada were selected to attend the Sony Global Youth Forum in Brazil during the World Cup. Tet and Techo are two of just 36 representatives from around the world selected for the forum. 
 
    
       Coach Ye-Htet (Tet) Soe                      Coach Estefan (Techo) Bolaños
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