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  • Soccer Without Borders

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.

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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.

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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.


Hel Say!

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