Over 5 nights from July 27 to August 1, PeacePlayers-Cyprus held its Basketball Summer Camp for 60 Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot boys and girls. The aim of the camp is to bring 12 to 16 year old Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot children together to play basketball, develop new friendships and learn about peace. Below is part 1 of a two-week blog about the camp:
On the morning of July 27, 2011, children and coaches arrived at the Rodon, a large traditional hotel that sits atop a mountain peak overlooking the small village of Agros. Activities started right away with kids being divided into their teams and playing fun games. The camp was divided into two teams, black and yellow. Over the course of the camp, black and yellow faced off in different challenges to accumulate points. Each color was then divided into 4 smaller teams, junior boys, junior girls, senior boys and senior girls. My team was yellow junior girls, or as we called ourselves, the Yellow Sun Girls.
After some initial games to break the ice, the kids prepared for the first challenge of the camp, the treasure hunt. Groups had to follow clues to go to different places in the village where they would have to complete challenges before moving on to the next location. One challenge involved bobbing for apples and eating watermelon without using your hands.
Treasure Hunt Clue:
Near the high school there is a field
Where your mission will soon be revealed
It may involve water, and a bucket with fruit
But if you succeed, you’ll get the loot
Senior girls completed the treasure hunt first, by finishing the course and jumping into the hotel swimming pool, pulling out a list of words and forming the PeacePlayers motto: “Children who play together can learn to live together.”
Early in the morning the following day, camp officially began. Each morning activities began at 7:30 with team building games, such as fitting your whole team through a hula-hoop, doing tricks with a giant parachute, or getting your team across the court on one plank of wood. After breakfast, half of the children were sent to the basketball court, where they were would go through a structured practice, working on their fundamental skills such as dribbling, defense, and shooting. The other half of the kids would go to the classroom and learn about the Anatomy of Peace, the conflict resolution curriculum that PeacePlayers uses with its children. After an hour and a half of practice or classroom, the children would switch places. After a full morning of activities the children would eat lunch in the dining hall and spend some time playing in the hotel pool.
In the afternoon, children were again divided into their teams and prepared to play competitive matches, yellow vs. black. The matches were a lot of fun, many going down to the wire, with last second shots and camp coaches leading their teams to victory. While teams were matching, others were taking part in other activities, such as attending seminars on discrimination, or making their own movies. The Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) brought two professional cameras and helped the children come up with their own idea for a short film. They shot, directed, and acted in the video, which was then edited and produced by the people at the CCMC. Here is the end result:
But at the end of the day, the fun was only just beginning. In next week’s blog I’ll tell you about the Disco nights, the final matches, and the amazing cross-cultural friendships that blossomed during camp. Make sure to check it out!
For all the pictures from the camp, make sure to become a member of the PeacePlayers Facebook Group Here.