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 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.
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!)