Ten coaches and 50 children from Trench Town benefited from a three-day ‘Sports for Life Skills Development’ summer camp organised by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in collaboration with the Trench Town Community Development Committee (CDC) and Ballaz Football Academy.
Colleen Wint-Bond, Project Coordinator at the VPA said that the 10 coaches were trained in the areas of leadership, discipline and life skills through the initiative of Ballaz Football Academy. After the training, the coaches then engaged 50 children ages 8 to 12 years-old and 13 and 15 years-old. The children were exposed to life skills through sport such as conflict resolution, team work and discipline.
“The idea came from the community and we organised the camp in partnership with the Trench Town CDC and Ballaz Football Academy with funding from USAID, through LPD FHI360. This experience, even though short, will open their [participants] eyes to what is possible. So we are hoping that they will continue and work with the Trench Town CDC. We have donated equipment to them – cones, football and bibs so they can keep practicing and have some fun,” she informed.
“As an Alliance we forge partnerships like these with communities to address some of the needs so that they are better equipped to resolve conflicts. We are hoping that this initiative will continue, because sports is a powerful tool that can bring people together,” she said.
Zann Locke, First Vice President of the Trench Town CDC said that the 10 men from the community who have a passion for sports and coaching were recruited for the training and they, in turn, imparted what they learned to the children.
“The objective of the summer camp is to pass on discipline through sports to the participants and also share knowledge and principles when it comes on to the sport. It is also a good activity for the summer,” she said.
Ms Locke said the intention is to continue the initiative with the assistance of donor funding. “We are happy as an organisation for this partnership because we have young people in our space who need to be occupied and the fact that we are doing sports for development, a tool that can help with conflict negotiation skills, discipline and building self-esteem and team work is very good,” she noted.
Andre Virtue, Director of Ballaz Football Academy said that his organisation was happy to partner with the VPA and the Trench Town CDC to reach young men and children through sports.
“Sports is a very powerful medium, but sometimes we just use it for the purpose of winning a game and scoring goals, but there are so many messages that can be imparted, so we were very deliberate in looking at key things such as communication, collaboration, cooperation and conflict resolution through sports,” he informed.
Renardo Jackson, a resident from the community of Mexico and one of the coaches who was trained said that it was an inspiring programme for all the coaches and that he was happy that the initiative was a success.
“It felt good that we were able to come together with the children, showing them love, discipline and being part of their lives. When you live in a community like this you often see bad things but this activity allowed us to show love to the children and for me that was a good thing,” he said.
For 13 year-old Kevin Campbell it was a fun experience and improving his technical skills in football. “We also learned not to fight, cuss one another and don’t tell each other bad words and also to follow the rules,” he said.
Trench Town is located in the western section of Downtown Kingston and is comprised of communities such as Wilton Gardens [Rema], Federal Gardens, Arnett Gardens [Jungle], Havana, Buckers and others.
Violence Prevention Alliance | Institute for Sustainable Development | 3 Gibraltar Camp Way | UWI, Mona| Kingston 7 | Tele/fax: 702-2079 | lEmail:email@example.com | Cell: 363-1726, August 31, 2022