“AJ Says…” My Work Experience Story

This week’s blog was written by AJ McMinn, Senior C4P participant and Assistant Coach at PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland 

Hello my name is AJ, I am a Senior Champion4 Peace, BIL Assistant Coach in North BIL and a participant in the PPI-NI BIL+ programme.  This week, I completed my work experience with PeacePlayers which is a short-term internship where a student few days to gain experience within the work place.

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Speaking about my experience as a Youth Evaluator at the PeacePlayers Camp Beta Celebration last week in Stormont (Northern Ireland Assembly)

On my first day, I met with Sally and Jazz at the office and headed to Queens PEC (the sports hall) t0 coach in my first ever Super Twinning between Springhill Primary School and John Paul II Primary School from East Belfast! At Queens PEC, I met with the other coaches and went over the plans for the day and I was paired with Gareth (PPI-NI Managing Director) to help him with his team. As both the schools came into the hall, you could instantly feel the high energy and I knew it was going to be a great twinning!

Throughout the day whilst we rotated around the stations, I got to know the participants better and better and it was great to look around to see everyone laughing and enjoying themselves.  I really enjoyed coaching the participants! After lunch, it was time for the matches and this is what all the participants were looking forward to. It was great to see everyone working as a team and sticking to the theme of the twinning which was “Sportsmanship.” Once the matches ended, it was the award ceremony time! The team that was the most “sportsman-like” at the end of the day were awarded t-shirts. I enjoyed my first day of coaching alongside all the other coaches and getting to know all the participants and I looked forward to my second day!

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Me and my best friend, Emma!

During my second day, I arrived at the office at 9am and met with Sally. Sally then briefed me on what my day at the office would consist of and we talked over the Champion4Peace Strategy Plan. I then met with Jazz and we discussed our Senior C4P Curriculum and how we can integrate more trainings and life skills-focused themes into our monthly meetings.

After the meeting with Jazz, I developed a session plan on public speaking as well as a model session plan for when we host young people from partner organisations. I enjoyed writing these sessions plans, it also gave me better insight to what goes into our sessions and how long they take to plan. I then looked at different grant opportunities for Senior C4P which will allow us to be able to do more within PPI. My day in the office was a lot of fun as I was able to see all aspects of being a PeacePlayers coach!

On my final day, I again met with Sally along with coaches, James and Liam. We took a trip to Magherafelt which is about 45 minutes outside of Belfast for a twinning between Magherafelt Primary School and Holy Family Primary School. When we arrived at the school, we went over our plan for the day before the participants arrived. The participants instantly began to bond with one another and I led a short energiser called, “Find a New Seat If…” The participants seemed to enjoy the energiser and I really enjoyed leading this activity. I was then paired with Liam and helped him with his team. We came up with a team name and cheer and after some silly, yet funny names, we decied to call ourselves “The McDabberz.”  The twinning was great, I enjoyed spending my morning with both the schools and enjoyed watching them all bond in such a short space of time some of them even hugged each other goodbye!

Overall, I really enjoyed my work experience. I wish it was longer than 3 days as I really enjoyed the PeacePlayer coaching experience! I would like to thank PeacePlayers Northern Ireland for taking me on my work experience and would like to have the opportunity again in the future.

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