A few weeks ago, we proudly announced that 9 of our PPI-SA coaches had been selected to take part in the Laureus Youth Empowerment through Sport (YES) Programme. Our coaches have just returned from the first leg of their training, a 10-day retreat to Shongweni Dam just outside of Durban. While we are busy gathering feedback and stories from our coaches, please enjoy this blog written by PPI-SA coach Andile Msomi after day 5 of the training. Andile participated in the YES pilot programme last year and was asked to return this year to help the first-year participants along:
It is almost the end of day five of the Laureus YES program at Shongweni Dam Spirit of Adventure. This place is a constant reminder that the “earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”. I couldn’t be anywhere else but here. I adore everything about this place; the people, the air, the mountains, the trees; it just makes me think, wow… this is what it is to be happy.
The YES Leaders 2013 have been consistently working hard, pulling a sweat every day. Every day is presented with a variety of a combination of accredited and non accredited activities that brings out the best in everyone in so many different levels; The leaders shared that, when they partake in these activities their “confidence is challenged, they are put under pressure, it’s an emotional rollercoaster, it’s beautiful, enlightening, and adventurous’’. They added that “nothing is impossible”. Therefore, a lot of emotions are being shaken, catered for, provoked and tested. However, all of this is “crazy fun”!
Today was filled with exhilarating activities. In the morning there were seminars where people presented on anything and everything. The presentations were amazing; you could tell that people put effort into it even when presenting is not everyone’s
strongest attribute. This goes to show that continuous effort, not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking one’s potential. It was an honor sitting through the presentations and hearing people presenting about things that affects them spiritually and emotionally, positively and negatively. To mention a few topics, “21st century youth vs. the olden day youth”, “personal inner drive”, “love” etc. They were real. Two big events that took place today were abseiling and jumping down the dam wall that is 7 meters (23 ft.) high. A lot of emotions and feelings were apparently floating in the air. Some felt thrilled, it was a breakthrough for some, and some were threatened, a victory for some, and others were phobic and afraid. And for me, it was a reminder that water has the power to take lives. I respect nature and its course, I admire its peacefulness, and I recognize its presence because it is just too beautiful and truthful to be missed. But mostly, I envy its power and abilities.
Privileged, blessed and lucky would understate the feelings I have towards the discovery of the Laureus YES program. The program continuously turns the leaves of hope and faith for me. It just humbles me to be given an opportunity to be part of this program that equips me with the skills to be a better person, to be resilient in life, to accept myself and the world around me, to lead and follow when needed, to learn, face my fears, explore and to be around people that seeks to better themselves and the people around them. YES is home away from home, it’s my shoulder to lean on, it’s my breakthrough, it’s a ladder towards my sunny days. Moreover, it’s a reminder that wherever I go, no matter the weather, I should always try to bring my own sunshine.
The leaders this year are great beyond words, I have learnt so much from them in the past 5 days and excited to learn some more for the rest of the journey. I am thankful to Laureus for continuously giving the opportunities to learn and be surrounded by such amazing souls.
p.s. just remember that when it is dark enough, you can see the stars