This week’s blog is written by International Fellow, Sally Nnamani and PPI-NI Managing Director, Gareth Harper.
One word that sums up Summer Sixteen here at PPI-NI is BUZZIN’!! Thanks to our supporters and our wonderful team, we successfully ran and implemented year-round program that challenged our young people, disrupted comfort zones, and most importantly, strengthened relationships among participants. Building off the Summer Jam momentum in June, we took our skills up a notch at the PeacePlayers Basketball Skills Camp, took an eye-opening trip to Cyprus, and played traditional Northern Irish sports at our Belfast Interface Games. In August, we culminated the term with our M8s4Change Cross-Border Exchange and last but certainly not least, our second Leadership Through Sports camp, Camp BETA! Read all about it below!
From 17th-22nd of August, we embarked on our “M8s4Change” cross-border exchange in Newcastle, Northern Ireland with young leaders from County Clare, Ireland The partnership with Youth Clare Services which started in 2013 has grown from our young people participating to taking on the role of planning, leading and delivering activities / sessions. As part of the exchange, senior participants organised and planned a basketball clinic for the Shimna Stars Special Olympics team in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. The workshop themes at the M8s4Change exchange included Positive Youth Coaching, Drugs & Alcohol Awareness, and Consent. During the five days together, we learned about everyday life, challenges, culture, lifestyles, music, sports common among young people in Ennis, Ireland. In return, we shared our experiences, challenges, and culture from Northern Ireland. It was during these informal discussions that we learned that despite growing up in different societies with different histories that we shared something in common – the desire to be leaders and to take the steps towards becoming champions for change in our countries.
Upon return from our M8s4Change Exchange, the following day along with 50 additional participants, we headed off to Ganaway Recreation Centre in Millisle, Northern Ireland to kick off Camp Beta! Our MD, Gareth Harper recaps the week below.
At the end of August (23rd – 26th ) PPI-NI hosted its second annual Community Relations Through Sport Summer Camp, Camp BETA 2016. The camp, funded through the Executive Offices TBUC Summer Camps programme, saw 60 Catholic and Protestant young people gather at the Ganaway Activity Centre in Millisle for four days and three nights of sustained and intensive interaction. Integrated community relations through sport activities, conversations and capacity building were complimented by a very special Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) component, expertly guided by Julie Younes (PPI’s Global Director of M&E) and supported by PPI-NI’s very own M&E; guru Laura Agnew. Participants learned about goals, outcomes and activities and how each related to PPI-NI’s programme model. Our Senior Leaders were tasked with coming up with questions and selecting appropriate data collection tools. As youth evaluators, they will be using these tools in the coming months to conduct the first ever youth-led evaluation of the work of PeacePlayers to be undertaken anywhere in the world.
Midway through the camp we were delighted to host a visit by a couple of VIP’s, Junior Minister Alastair Ross and Mark Browne (the Executive Offices Director of Strategic Policy, Equality and Good Relations) stopped by to check out the community relations and M&E stations. They also took some time on the court, and displayed some excellent basketball skills – both mastering the reverse lay-up. A massive thank you to everyone who helped make Camp BETA the raging success it was. What a fantastic conclusion to an amazing summer. #itscooltobeapeaceplayer.