Taylor Brown, our newest PPI Fellow, just disembarked to help our local team in South Africa. Taylor’s a veteran of PPI’s Washington headquarters, with experience in basketball, finance and on the operations side of a professional basketball team in Australia. He’ll help keep us updated on all the latest from Durban in the future here on From the Field. Today, he offers a birds’ eye view of his first two weeks on the ground.
I’ve been in Durban for two weeks now and have been full steam ahead since Day 1! I was greeted at the airport on Monday, July 26th, by PPI-SA’s other International Fellow, Claire Perry (after 22 hours of flying!), who even baked a “Welcome to South Africa Cake” to celebrate my arrival. Since then, I’ve gotten to step right in and start learning everything PPI-SA.
During the past two weeks I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a 2-day Life Skills & Basketball training for PPI-SA’s coaches at the Chatsworth Youth Centre, coach Leadership Development Program (LDP) practices in Molweni, participate in Primary School practices in 3 City Schools, play in 2 basketball games with the PPI Doves in the EBA Men’s Premier League, participate in 3 PPI-SA Staff Meetings (the last of which I had the opportunity to chair) and much, much more!
One of the highlights for me so far has been the chance to have input into the strengthening of PPI-SA’s Leadership Development Program through PPI-SA’s Basketball and LDP Committees. Beginning this semester, a new scoring system will be implemented, in which Boys and Girls LDP teams will have the opportunity to accumulate points not solely based on on-court performance, but also through a variety of community service and personal development activities. These include hosting basketball clinics for Primary School Program (PSP) participants in their respective areas, having high team attendance rates during basketball practices and life skills sessions, having high fan levels at LDP home games, and for fundraising efforts in and around each team’s community.
In addition, PPI-SA’s LDP Committee will be working on the development of an LDP Leadership Weekend, where LDP participants will spend a weekend together fostering leadership and life skills, receiving a higher level of HIV/AIDS education and socializing with peers from other areas. Following the first week of LDP practices, the teams are extremely excited and are looking forward to the first round of LDP Games, on Saturday, August 14th and the semester ahead.
Needless to say, I’m also very excited for the next two years of my Fellowship with PPI-SA. The opportunity to truly immerse myself in a new culture and have the opportunity to impact young lives daily through basketball and life skills is exhilarating. Thank you to PeacePlayers and to each one of its generous, selfless supporters for this extraordinary opportunity!