Sport, a powerful tool for progress and development

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It felt great when I heard the news that I was going to be involved in a camp organised by UNOSDP and dedicated to young coaches who work in difficult environments. That said, I wasn’t sure about what the project would focus on so I was a little nervous before I set off.

When I landed at the airport in Florida, some of the great staff from the organisation were there to take us to Bradeton, a county two hours from Orlando. The IMG Academy, an incredible school and sports centre usually home to elite level athletes, would host us for a fortnight. The place is like Disneyland for sports lovers.

Everything was going swimmingly and even more so when I began to meet the other people taking part in the camp: 33 wonderful guys and girls from 19 different countries. Despite the different nationalities, cultures and languages, we all had similar personalities and shared the same passion with one aim, using sport to help others. Every one of those guys is doing something to make the world a better place through sport in their respective countries. It was amazing for me to meet every single one of them and learn about the admirable initiatives they’re involved in.

I’ve been working with Inter Campus in Mexico for going on three years now and I’m very proud to be a part of the programme, which I fell in love with on day one. I had never heard about any other programmes like it around the world and it was very interesting to get a greater insight into the institutions and bodies involved in it. I noticed that there are lots of people who are interested in helping to make the world a better place and that we’re not alone. We represent a powerful network of agents for change.

The camp’s content and its activities were presented on day one, while Wilfried Lemke, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, welcomed us before telling us that we had been chosen for our leadership skills and because we are role models who can influence the communities that we work in. His words motivated us and made us feel responsible.

During the 13 days of the camp, figures from various sports (rubgy, table tennis, judo, taekwondo, football and sports adapted to those with special needs) taught us to use sport to reach new targets and improve certain aspects of our communities in terms of gender equality, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, social inclusion and making young people accountable. This approach made me realise that I can combine all of these goals in my work with Inter Campus and not simply focus on one aspect. I can help the kids in several areas of their lives.

We also took part in a number of sessions on developing leadership skills and the ability to manage the issue of children’s rights and their protection.

Besides the great friendships I made with these wonderful people, taking part in the camp taught me a lot, helping me to improve my work with Inter Campus and continue to give 100% every single day. I now know that there are lots of people who are committed to making the world a better place and this is a message we need to spread.

I would like to thank Inter Campus for giving me the chance to share the beauty of football with all the kids. Thank you to everyone at UNOSDP (Wilfried Lemke, Ben Taylor, Maria), IMG Academy, GAI Sports, the workshop leaders and all the friends I made.

Karla Guti