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Sports Programs

City Helps Village: Workshops for Children and Play Football Make Peace

Pokrovskoye, Russia - Initiated and supported by the Women’s Federation for World Peace, a training-workshop in August 2010 called “Magic Land” was held in the village of Pokrovskoye in the Sverdlovsk region of central Russia. This was in the framework of the project “Cities offering helping hands in the village."

The workshop welcomed children aged 8 to 13 with the purpose of giving them spiritual and moral education through practicing universal values. The variety of educational activities included learning about psychology, lifestyle development, active games, sports competitions, reflection, learning songs, and putting on mini-theatricals. Among the scheduled activities were social service projects adapted to the participants' ages.

This was the second workshop of the kind; the first took place in the summer 2009 and was a great success, being highly praised both by children and adults. Thus for several months participants had been eagerly looking forward to getting together again and actively prepared for it. They expected the 2010 camp to reach a new stage in promoting development both physically and spiritually as well as stimulating harmonious relationships between generations.

For the sports component, they chose to hold a friendship tournament with the theme Play Football Make Peace. Having heard about the sports events of the previous year, ten new participants joined this year. The obvious enthusiasm of the children and teachers inspired school officials to offer tangible support for the “Magic Land” project by organizing meals and overnight accommodations for participants. That was a significant support considering the intensity of the schedule and the previous year's experience when children were unwilling to go home at night because the experiences at Magic Land were so beautiful that nobody wanted to part from their friends.

This workshop brought a happy conclusion to the second stage of the project. We could feel that it was not the first time that children pondered about moral propositions. After the workshop, teachers found new opportunities to discuss deeper concepts with the children and come to new mutual conclusions that promote spiritual growth.

Initiators expressed their gratitude to the principal of school №4, Tatyana Alexandrovna Nekhonova; the leader of the Mayak ecological team, teacher Olga Vladimirovna Vorobyova; and also to teachers-volunteers L.V. Guzenko, M.S. Kachura, and D.A. Klimina, whose work supplemented this interesting project!

In July, the UPF-Ural chapter conducted the first Play Football Make Peace tournament in the Urals.

Among participants were teenagers from the “Mayor’s Working teams” summer camp of the town of Revda and children from the village of Pokrovskoye, where the fourth yearly volunteer project “Cities offering helping hands in the village” was under way.  Besides the football games, there were also meetings in which participants were taught about the unique significance and history of the Play Football Make Peace project, which began in 2004.

After discussing the content of the six items of the “Memorandum of values supported by the tournament,” the young players recognized that participating in the project helped them understand and accept the value of healthy lifestyle; the need to uphold a code of honor and dignity both on the football field and in everyday life; their personal responsibility to establish traditions of volunteerism and a culture of peace; and the role of sports in building world peace. When the invitation was given to sign the Memorandum, people responded without hesitation.

Both teachers and project initiators noted that signing the declaration was not just a formality for the children. One of the teachers reported: “While playing, the children started practicing values that they pledged to follow when they signed the Memorandum. The teams became more consolidated. Before, players focused mostly on personal results. This time not only did they not get mad a their team members for making mistakes but they tried to support others when needed.”

Awarding winners and encouraging losers is also part of the spirit of a Play Football Make Peace tournament. Following the tradition, the winning team received a cup and medals, and the losing team received letters of gratitude for their participation. This was a pleasant surprise that will remain in memory of the participants of this unusual tournament.

Also, the children participated in service projects adapted to their age. Activities included cleaning a water spring, assembling the coating of the sensor track, and planting flowers.

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