By: Kara McMahon
The 18 campers touched down in Managua, Nicaragua on January 10, 2015. From university students to university professors hailing from 3 different countries and over 8 different schools, the campers drove through the colorful streets of Granada to the large “Tres Pisos” headquarters of Fútbol Sin Fronteras. Dropping off their piles of donated bags, they had little idea what fun awaited them over the following days. Piñatas, musical chairs, long practices, and a game against the Women’s Nicaraguan National Soccer Team account for only a few of the memorable activities of T.E.A.M. University Camp 2015.
Keep reading to learn more about our special activities of Campamento 2015:
As part of FSF’s expansion efforts to reach other girls in Granada, the campers took part in practices in La Villa, a neighborhood to the north of our regular Multi-Estadio practices. On the first day of practice, only three girls appeared at the Villa field. By the second day, however, there were five. And by the final day of camp, over eleven girls were practicing their dribbling and passing skills!
Through working at La Villa, our campers were able to see the challenges and rewards of starting a youth program in a new area. FSF is very thankful for the campers’ help in making the new girls feel welcome and excited about soccer!
Multi-Estadio Practices and Activities
FSF girls filled the Multi-Estadio Field from the first day of camp to the last. Over eighty girls participated each day, ranging from age 7-17. The campers and FSF coaches led activities designed for all ages.
Each day after camp, the girls walked hand-in-hand back with the campers to Tres Pisos for an afternoon of activities. Piñatas, dance parties, and musical chairs brought the campers and girls together despite any language barriers.
The week of practices and activities gave our campers an idea of what FSF does year-round for girls in Granada.
Sport and Development Talk with Professor Jenny Lind Withycombe
The FSF T.E.A.M. Camp had the great fortune to welcome Professor Jenny Lind Withycombe to Granada. Withycombe is a Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and will be teaching a class on sport for development in 2015.
To supplement Campamento 2015, Withycombe delivered a presentation to campers regarding the growing field of sport for development and the importance of using sport for good. For many campers on our trip, this presentation framed their week with FSF with a larger goal in mind – to use sport for positive social development domestically and abroad.
Playing Against the National Team!
On Friday, January 16, the female university volunteers played against La Selección de Nicaragua, the Nicaraguan Women’s National Team, in the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium) in Managua. Thanks to the support of Activyst, Fútbol Sin Fronteras bussed over 80 of our FSF participants and a few of their parents to the game.
After ninety minutes of grueling but exciting play in the heat, the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Our volunteers played excellently against fierce national-level competition!
FSF is thankful for the participation of the United States Embassy in Nicaragua for sending two representatives to the game as well as the support of FENIFUT (National Nicaraguan Soccer Federation) for making the game a reality for our campers.
These activities were exciting and valuable experiences for the campers. In the end, however, it was the smaller moments of the week: hugs from the girls, painted signs at the international friendly, and sad goodbyes at the end of their week that they will most remember from their time in Granada.
We hope that our camp volunteers will stay in touch with FSF Granada regarding their upcoming soccer seasons and get involved with various SWB domestic sites! Thank you for all of your efforts at T.E.A.M. Camp 2015!