In a tavern just 100 meters from Cyprus’ buffer zone, one American, one Greek, one Greek-Cypriot, one Turkish-Cypriot and one Israeli Croatian sat around a table. What unites the 5 of us from such different backgrounds? We are all members of PeacePlayers’ global family of coaches, directors, volunteers and fellows. This week PPI – CY had the honor of welcoming a new member of the family from PeacePlayers International – Middle East, Vito Gilic. Vito made the trip from Israel to Cyprus to join us for our youth leadership development weekend and combined coaches training.
Vito is a coaching expert with a knack for working with youth. Vito has led the youth program for Macabi Tel Aviv, the girls Israeli National Team, the Women’s Croatian National Team, and for the past 5 years he has been with PPI – ME as the Director of Basketball Operations. Vito not only understands the game in a deep and intricate manner, he also truly represents the values, qualities and coaching philosophies that set PeacePlayers apart from other basketball organizations. Over the next 3 days our goal is to gain as much knowledge and insight from him and to better understand the methods that have allowed him to be such a successful basketball coach.
To learn as much as possible in a short amount of time we created a very full schedule. Shortly after landing in Cyprus on Thursday, Vito joined PPI – CY’s Program Coordinator, Thanasis, at a practice in Larnaca, a Greek-Cypriot town in southern Cyprus. Friday morning Vito toured the Turkish-Cypriot northern part of the island where he directed a practice with one of our longest running sites in Iskele. On Saturday morning we will be leaving bright and early for the mountains where we will be holding our leadership development and coaches retreat. This is where the real learning will begin for our players and coaches, as we will have 4.5 hours of court time with Vito running the show.
Having another member of PPI family here with us in Cyprus is motivating and encouraging to our players and our coaches. His visit reminds us that we are part of a global family all working under a common vision and goal of inspiring and uniting youth through the game we love.
Check out next week’s blog for an update from the leadership development and coaches retreat!