High school basketball players from PPI-SA’s eight Leadership Development Program (LDP) teams came together this past Saturday in Umlazi for a season kickoff jamboree. The teams have been practicing for a few weeks, but the jamboree marked the first time this semester that LDP teams from different areas were able to compete against one another and showcase their skills. Though the weather was cold and threatening throughout the event, the rain somehow held off, deciding that the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the participants and coaches was just too great to spoil.
There were four boys teams and four girls teams at the event, hailing from Umlazi, Umbumbulu, Molweni, and Lamontville. Each team played three quarters of basketball, one against each of the other teams. While games were running on two of the courts, a third court was used to work on basketball skills with the teams that were sitting out. At the conclusion of the games, all participants received a snack and then broke into groups that mixed areas and genders. These groups then participated in two separate life skills sessions facilitated by PPI coaches and staff. The sessions focused on self-value, identity, and interdependence, and were part of the Bridges of Hope curriculum that PPI coaches and staff were trained in back in June.
The first Bridges of Hope activity was called “Lifeboat”, during which LDP participants learned the importance of valuing their own life and taking responsibility for themselves. In addition, the activity stresses that, to achieve your dreams, you must value yourself AND others. One life is not more important than another, and interdependence is key to a wholesome and successful life.
The second Bridges of Hope activity required participants to look deeper into themselves to create an “identity statement”. This activity demonstrates the importance of having a sense of who we are, and how the perception we have of ourselves affects everything we do in life. Participants learned that building a positive sense of identity is essential to self-empowerment.
Finally, to wrap up the day’s events, players had an opportunity to win prizes such as water
bottles, basketball shorts, and backpacks by answering NBA-themed trivia questions.Overall, the day received rave reviews from those involved.
“I loved the format of having several shorter games and keeping the kids moving around,” said Lamontville Area Coordinator Sifiso Cebisa. “It motivated them to give it all they had for the time they were on the court, and kept others from getting bored.”
Molweni Area Coordiantor and LDP coach Sifiso Mthembu was particularly impressed with the life skills sessions. “The highlight of the day for me was the Bridges of Hope activities,” he remarked. “Rather than just listening to a coach give them information, kids were thinking for themselves, participating and sharing, and giving advice to each other.”
LDP teams are currently scheduled to come together two more times this semester for similar events, with a potential third event in the works if funding allows for it.