Building Friends, Developing People
On the 22nd of January, the Chris Campbell Memorial Field was packed with kids participating in an event in celebration of the 3rd anniversary of the opening of the CCMF. The day’s events included general games and energizers as well as a 5-a-side football tournament and were held for children who play in the AMANDLA EduFootball under 13s Heads Up program as well as players ages 9 and under who do not currently have a league in the AMANDLA program structure but can be found playing around at the CCMF almost every day. Before the day even began, kids were lined up at the fence ready to register their teams. In total, there were 16 Under 13s teams, 16 Under 9s teams and roughly 360 players in total. With additional spectators and visitors to the field the total number of attendees on the day was nearly 400 kids!
Once teams were registered, the day kicked off with a group energizer lead by assistant Program Coordinator Fusi “Rama” Ramokepa, a performance by a traditional African dance troop, and a welcome speech by former CTC Ten intern Ryan McGonigle. Ryan was among a group of many visitors from the U.S. who were at the Field that day including another former intern Amy Cawley, CTC Ten Foundation board members and field founders Christopher and Mari Ann Campbell, and five other Campbell family members. Once everyone was welcomed to the field and warmed up for the day, kids were divided into two groups based on their ages and everyone participated in age-specific activities put on by AMANDLA EduFootball program staff with the help of volunteers from Coaching for Hope and AMANDLA EduFootball Youth Leaders. The Under 9s players spent the morning playing a series of games ranging from freeze tag to singing and dancing activities. On the Under 13s field, players rotated through four stations of soccer drills where they practiced shooting, ball control, and other skills.
Just before lunch time, children were introduced to the Life-Skills topic of the day – hand washing. Players learned why it is important to wash their hands, when they should wash their hands, and then all 400 attendees went through the steps of effective hand washing. Once everyone was washed up and mostly dried off (with the exception of some participants that got a bit drenched in the process) all attendees were fed lunch provided by Nhuza Catering. When everyone had satisfied bellies and was feeling re-energized for the afternoon, participants watched one final performance by the traditional dance troop before the DJ cranked the music up and the afternoon activities got started.
During the afternoon, players showed off their soccer skills in a 5-a-side knockout tournament. This was an especially exciting opportunity for the Under 9s players who do not often to get a chance to play in such an official tournament! Additionally, it was inspiring to see that older players stepped up by helping to coach the younger players who were not entirely familiar with formal match structure. To add a unique and educational spin to the tournament, players had a chance to earn an extra point for their team by answering a trivia question based on the facts that they learned earlier that day about hand washing. Since so many players were well versed with their facts as well as their soccer skills, many matches came down to penalty shootouts. At the end of the day, the top three teams in the Under 9s league went home with tie-dyed t-shirts donated by a class of primary school students from the United States. A big thanks goes out to CTC Ten board member Richard Rizzo, his son Orion, and Orion’s class at Overbrook Primary who made and donated the shirts for the Under 9s! For the Under 13s tournament, the third place team won a set of soccer shorts, the second place team won t-shirts donated by Towson Recreation Council (TRC), and the first place Under 13s team was thrilled to be awarded soccer shoes for all players which were also donated by TRC players and families.
When the day wrapped up, the music finally wound down, and tired players made their way back home for dinner, it was clear that fun was had by all. It was a delight to be able to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Chris Campbell Memorial Field with so many visitors from the States and to be able to use prizes donated by soccer players from across the world to put smiles on the faces of children of the same age here in Khayelithsa. Thank you to all the CCMF staff and Youth Volunteers, Coaching for Hope volunteers, AMANDLA EduFootball, Nhuza Catering, DJ Dexter, Overbrook Primary, and Towson Recreation Council for helping to make the CCMF Anniversary Tournament such a huge success.