The second of Rachelle Hall’s projects – Let’s Play Sports! Project – conducted in White Water, Region 1.
The youth sports group of White Water consists of separate boys and girls teams. The sports played include cricket and football, but additional activities are often integrated, although they are not played competitively with other villages. The youth’s ages range from 7-17 years old and can be seen practicing their favorite sports during rain or shine, everyday after school.
The FROG grant would assist the Sports Club to repair/purchase various sports equipment that are needed/require maintenance and would help the teams purchase material to create team jerseys to wear during their competitions with neighboring villages (they are currently one of the only teams left, competing in “street-clothes” attire).
Additional goals will include incorporating health talks involving topics that the youth will be able to personally pick out, and to create an environment where they can discuss these subjects freely. These efforts will help to strengthen the club’s members through boosting self-esteem and engage them in positive after-school activities.
Under new management by the newly elected Coach, a sports team of 15 boys and 15 girls was constructed. This was a task in itself as the teams were always loosely regimented, previously. Monthly meetings were implemented with a total of three meetings where the sports team’s future was discussed.
It was decided that the team members most wanted team uniforms to play in. They thought this would inspire team spirit and unification. It also would give them pride in their team when playing against opposing teams. The team decided they would rather have an outside source create the uniforms, as the women’s sewing group did not have the patterns. The teams came up with their top three favorite colors and style of uniform. Woodpecker Products was chosen to construct the uniforms in Georgetown where they were able to make the uniforms in the team’s first choice of color.
They also chose to see me on an individual basis, instead of having big group health teachings. They thought this would allow them to receive health information confidentially, on topics they chose. These topics included adolescent development, family planning, STI prevention, and maintenance of body injury.
Immediate: The youth in White Water love to play sports, rain or shine. Keeping them active in a team-building group that promotes healthy lifestyles will steer the members to continue in activities that promote well-being.
Long-term: There are other youths that are currently interested in the sports team but have not made an active membership. As they begin to see the positive outcomes for the participants it will further their desire to join.
All of the sports team’s goals and objectives were met, except the first. All the funds were used for the team jerseys, per vote by the team. However, there was not enough money to purchase/repair sport equipment. The women’s group, however, supports the team with a donation of $3,000 GYD per month for items in need of repair. Health issues were discussed with the youth on an individual basis and no prize money was needed for participation.
As it was difficult for the group to always meet as a whole, quite the opposite happened when the members would visit me in the Health Hut on an individual basis. I saw a lot of the participants open up and ask questions related to their chosen topic. They were eager to learn without the embarrassment that would have inevitably taken place if the subjects were discussed in front of the group.