The future of PeacePlayers – Cyprus gathered together over the weekend for a day and a half Leadership Development retreat. Coaches and staff members selected 21 promising young leaders from our programs across Cyprus to be part of our Leadership Development Program (LDP) this year. The mission is to empower these individuals who already demonstrate the aptitude and qualities that we seek to become future ambassadors for our program within their own communities.
We assembled together in the mountains of Cyprus for a weekend of intensive basketball skill development, leadership and anatomy of peace sessions, and of course, some off the court fun as well. As mentioned in last week’s blog, we had a special guest with us from PeacePlayers Middle East, Basketball Operations Director and youth coach extraordinaire Vito Gilic. Coaches from each of our teams across the island joined in the weekend and had the opportunity to learn Vito’s methods for teaching and coaching youth. On the court we worked on everything from individual skill development, cooperation among pairs and full court teamwork drills. Vito taught the coaches how to incorporate such tools as hula-hoops, tennis balls and cones resulting in highly innovative and creative training sessions.
Since the focus of the LDP is equipping our youth to be the leaders of tomorrow on and off the court their time on the court was combined with work inside a classroom as well. PPI Cyprus Managing Director, Marina Vasilara, in collaboration with Board of Directors’ President, Akis Christofides, led one session challenging our youth to focus on the characteristics they sought in a positive leader and another session focused on The Anatomy of Peace. When asked what her hopes hold for the 21 program leaders attending the LDP weekend, Marina responded, “each of these kids possesses tremendous potential, the sky is the limit, we want them to be empowered to reach beyond limitations and open their minds, to realize they posses the capacity to reach great places.”
The spark of this process begins in the LDP weekend but is continued throughout the season as each of the young leaders returns to their team and their community and puts their refined leadership capacities to work. As PeacePlayers coaches and staff it is our role to work alongside of these kids and encourage and mentor them as they grow and develop as players and as individuals throughout such formative years in their lives.