This week our From the Field blog will take a look at a post from way in the past, on October 1st, 2009, by former fellow Julie Younes. To see the original blog click here.
This past Tuesday evening, at the team’s first practice of the year, the PeacePlayers International – Middle East Girls Leadership Development Program (LDP) Team scrimmaged the Boys LDP Team to a 10 – 10 tie. No one was more surprised about this result than the girls themselves, a few of whom were initially hesitant to play against a group of older boys. The game was both a reflection of the players’ skills as well as an important milestone for PPI – ME, as it marked the debut of PPI – ME’s female LDP Team.
The LDP is a program designed to give PPI veterans the opportunity to continue their basketball and conflict resolution training, while also taking a leading role within PPI’s other programs. In 2007, PPI – ME formed its first LDP team, a group of veteran PeacePlayers hailing from several different Arab and Jewish communities. In addition to intensive basketball training, the boys engaged in community service projects and served as volunteers at PPI – ME events. Since that inaugural year, the LDP team has helped paint and refurbish an old building at a special needs elementary school, competed in a league with teams from across the country, and learned how to teach basketball by assisting local coaches at practice. The boys have truly blossomed in their role as young leaders of the PPI – ME program.
Now the girls are ready to join in the action. This season, for the first time, PPI – ME will field a team of experienced female PeacePlayers, most of whom have been a part of the program for over four years, as an LDP Team. These girls are talented basketball players – as evidenced by the result of the scrimmage – who have also distinguished themselves as exceptional leaders. The group is poised for an outstanding year of games, volunteering, and life skills activities designed to further develop their leadership skills. There will also be many more scrimmages – and next time no one will think twice before challenging the boys.