Champions for Peace Retreat a Huge Hit

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In this week’s blog, PPI Staffer, Ntobeko Ngcamu, reflects on PPI-SA’s recent Champions for Peace Retreat to Spirit of Adventure. 25 high school students across 5 communities who had shown leadership potential on and off the court were selected to take part in the re-launching of PPI-SA’s Champions for Peace Programme at this 2 day retreat.

After a huge bang of a City Wide Tournament, PPI-SA has done it again taking a select number of our Leadership Development Program (LDP) participants to a Champion for Peace Retreat (C4P).

For PPI, This was a way of showing appreciation to our top players. The goal of the Camp was to enhance our participants’ leadership and teamwork skills as well as help them face some of their fears.

The weekend was a blast, filled with fun, laughter, tears—of joy and fear—and bonding sessions between players and coaches alike.

Ntobeko leads the kids (and one zebra) in an ice breaker on day 2

Ntobeko leads the kids (and one zebra) in an ice breaker on day 2.

From the first activity we saw participants crying because of fear, laughing, helping each other, gaining self-confidence, making friends, breaking their comfort zone and showing their talents. It was so amazing. As we went from activity to activity, participants consistently would refuse to do them out of fear or nervousness, but many times, with the support of their teammates, ended up doing them. The weekend was filled with highlights, but two stood out to me.

In one activity called the Snake Pit, participants crawl through a tight space where you can’t see so far as the person in front of you. The only way to move forward is to feel your way through. I remember one participant from Molweni named Thandekil refused to participate and went to hide in the toilets. However, 2 boys from her group (Thetha from Lamontville and Silas from the City) went and comforted her and then motivated and her to do it. I remember she was crying going in the snake pit with these 2 leaders with her. Coming out she was still crying, but this time with a smile on her face. Her response to why she was crying and laughing at the same time, “I can’t believe I did that. If it wasn’t for my teammates there’s no way I could have made it through”.

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Participants prepare for their raft build and race activity!

My second highlight goes to Team A. Upon arriving we were split up into three teams (A-C). I remember in the first activity (a scavenger hunt around the game reserve), half their group got lost in the bush, and they placed last. In the second activity (where each team built a raft to race), their raft sank in the middle of the dam.  They had to swim back to the shore and re-build their raft while the other groups sat there and laughed at them. But they did not lose hope, did not stop trying, did not blame each other and continued to work as a team. They later went on to finish first in a majority of the remaining activities. Big high five to team A.

To close, I would say this camp has been a great platform to integrate and unite these participants. I remember when we were all on the bus heading to Spirit of Adventure. Participants were almost entirely sitting with their own teammates.  The ride back home was completely different. Participants were talking with new friends, singing together, and exchanging numbers. It was another example of how PPI-SA is able to consistently and effectively bridge divides and change perceptions. When we say we are family we truly mean it.

PPI-SA would like to thank the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation for their support of the Leadership Development Programme and Champions for Peace Team, for whom without this retreat would not have been possible.

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