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No boundaries as Africa calls for Neven
TODAY I fly out to Uganda as part of the first Cricket Without Boundaries trip of 2013.
And having overcome late January’s wintry weather, all 26 new volunteers showed they are more than ready for the adventure ahead during a fantastic training weekend at Finham Park School in Coventry.
Over two action-packed days, the ‘Class of Spring 2013’, which included myself and my new team-mates, discussed our itineraries and got to grips with incorporating the vital HIV/AIDS messages into our coaching.
The weekend started with some team bonding as everyone was introduced to their country groups knowing that by the end of the weekend new friendships will have been formed that will last a lifetime.
The group was welcomed by new host Carl Ferguson and CWB Trustee Ed Williams, before being brought up to speed with the latest HIV/AIDS facts and figures.
They were also told how raising awareness through cricket is a vital part of our coaching in Africa before being given a chance to put this into practice during skills-based sessions in the sports hall.
Supported by the team of resident tutors, us volunteers were split into two different groups, dependent on previous experience, and given the chance to come up with ways of incorporating the HIV/AIDS messages into different skills and drills.
By the end of the weekend, all new coaches successfully passed the CWB minimum coaching standard, while the more experienced coaches learned new drills and games to help them to “expect the unexpected” when things invariably don’t go to plan in Africa.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the cricket challenges on the final day, which allowed each of the four teams to harness their competitive side.
Despite a certain outspoken confidence from team Rwanda, they ended up being put in their place by a triumphant team Uganda II, led by Jamie Burton.
Back in the classroom all the groups were briefed about their host country and the important additional roles that need to be fulfilled, including blogging and team welfare.
The impressive haul of new and recycled cricket kit was also divided up in order to be donated to the host cricket associations following the end of each trip.
Sally Harper, CWB training co-ordinator, said: “I would sincerely like to thank all the volunteers for committing their time and energy to CWB and for all their tremendous fundraising efforts.
“After successfully completing the training weekend, we feel confident that they will be fantastic ambassadors for our charity and we welcome them to our cricket family. I can’t wait to hear about their adventures.”
* To find out more about Cricket Without Boundaries visit cricketwithoutboundaries.com