This year, PeacePlayers-Middle East has plenty of exciting teams, but one of the most intriguing parts of the program is the Leadership Development Program (LDP). Exceptional participants who are at least 16 years old are given the opportunity to take on a bigger role in the organization with new responsibilities. It is important to PPI that these participants exemplify outstanding leadership skills and a desire to give back to their communities, as they are a vital part of PPI’s success, as they are the future leaders of the organization. This year we have over 35 young leaders and we are extremely optimistic about what the upcoming year will bring!
Ron Katz, an Israeli LDP participant, expressed his anticipation for the upcoming year, “I am really excited for the LDP this year. Most of all I love playing basketball and having fun with the other boys and girls, but I am also really looking forward to giving back to my community and helping others.” This year the participants will have weekly basketball practices, as well as monthly games with teams outside of PPI. In addition to playing basketball, they will participate in several social action projects (which they will design and lead), as well as volunteer with younger PPI teams. This is something the kids have grown to love as they are given the opportunity to work with young kids in their very own communities and have an impact on their lives.
One new aspect of the program for the upcoming 2013-2014 year is that American Fellows Jack Randolph and Jamie Walsh will have a bigger role. They will be helping to build and organize the program with some exciting new events. Fellow Jack Randolph commented, “I really want to concentrate on leadership characteristics this year. I am also really looking forward to giving the LDP participants more of a say on how they would like the program to go and what they want it to look like. We want them to demonstrate their skills by coming up with ideas for events and volunteer projects. We believe this is great way to put the skills they are learning to the test.”
Each year, LDP teens also learn how to facilitate PPI’s Anatomy of Peace (AoP) curriculum. Palestinian LDP participant Maryam Faqih added, “I love being a part of the LDP because it has helped me to grow into a better person. I especially enjoy the curriculum part because it has changed the way that I think of others and made me much less selfish. I am looking forward to getting to know new LDP members and continuing to learn and play basketball!” The kids don’t have to wait too long, as we will kick of the year with a retreat next weekend. There will be more to come and plenty of updates on the program throughout the year!