In June and July the children in Colombia had several weeks off of school. We thought it was a great idea to put our classes on break too and spend the time playing games, enjoying the swimming pool, and hold a day-camp style week of challenges, teamwork, and even prizes at the end. A lot of preparation time went into the week leading up to the event. Our university students worked hard to create games, puzzles, and other activities. Each day started with worship time, followed by splitting into teams for the activities, then we came together for a message from the pastor, and lastly came lunch. We chose fun fast food style lunches to serve this week as a treat. Instead of the usual soup and rice they got hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken and french fries!
The teams were split up and assigned a young adult as the leader. The teams combined different ages and friend groups. It was great to have all the students of the Center interacting and working together.
The pool was officially set up for the season! These kids go wild in the water! They all have so much fun making whirl pools, splashing, throwing each other around, and just having a great time.
We took the time to celebrate the birthdays from the last few months. This is a celebration for the whole community, not only our sponsor children. The mothers and also the children who come on Saturdays are able to participate. We sang happy birthday (Cumpleanos Feliz!) and everyone received ice cream, cake, and a sandwich to take home. It is so great to make the children feel special and have a party, something they aren’t able to have in their homes.
We had an amazing visit from Free Kicks Society of Canada who spent a week with us coaching and training our children. The first few days were spent doing drills and building up new soccer skills. It all paid off at a fun tournament the last day which took place at an off location pitch. The younger children at an indoor leisure center and the older at a turf field a short bus trip away. For many of them it was their first time playing on turf as oppose to concrete. Adam and Darren from England and Northern Ireland respectively have a heart to both train and mentor children. At our Friday youth group meeting they spoke and shared their testimonies.Throughout the week they constantly spoke a message of hard work, encouragement, teamwork, and persistence. It was an important lesson for our ultra competitive kids to hear that cheering on your friends and having a great time is much more important then winning the games.
Thanks to many donations from soccer clubs and others through Free Kicks every session ended with jersey’s awarded to those who stood out for trying hard, helping a friend, having a good attitude, and much more. At the end of the week the teams were given full kits to play in the tournament and afterwards they were all surprised to learn they got to keep them!
The week was full of great lessons and a lot of fun. Check out freekicks.org to find out more about the work they do in Canada and internationally using soccer as a tool to build up and inspire youth. Check out the gallery below to see more of the fun!