Haitians Wrap Up Exchange Trip to United States

After a busy weekend, the Haitian group of campers and leaders, who are participating in our U.S. Department of State – SportsUnited funded exchange trip, made their way to the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute in Warm Springs, GA to spend five days at BlazeCamp.

After unpacking their bags, the Haitian group leaders joined their American peers for camp training while the campers took a tour of the Little White House. There they learned about the history of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who himself had a physical disability but never let this get in the way of his career and achievements.

The following day the U.S. campers arrived and from the outset it was evident that the language barrier was not going to be a big issue when I came to both groups interacting and having fun. It didn’t take long for everyone to start to relax and enjoy playing games with one another. Throughout the week more and more friendships were created between the two groups. U.S. camper Derek Duvell’s favorite part of the week was getting to know the Haitians and learning more about their culture.

During camp, both the Haitian campers and leaders were trying new activities they’ve never experienced before. Some activities included learning to swim, archery and track and field events. A common favorite was being able to go out on the lake in canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. Everyone was having a good time Kayakrowing under the fountain to cool off on the hot day. A true culture exchange moment came during the nights at the camp fire where the leaders taught everyone games that Haitian children play in their country. All the campers were smiling, laughing and enjoying learning the new games.

On the last night of camp, everyone dressed up and threw on a cowboy hat, bandana and sheriff badges for the hoedown party. Once they heard the music, people were showing off their best dance moves and having a great time. To end the week at camp, the campers split up into teams representing different countries for a mini Paralympic Games where more activities were played. Once the day started wrapping up, it was time to say goodbye to a group of people who truly made the week an unforgettable one.Haitians Hoedown

For their last day, the group was able to buy some souvenirs for themselves and family members and have an “all American” style sleepover at the Powder Springs First United Methodist Church.

Everyone was sad to see the Haitian exchange group fly on Sunday after 10 fantastic days in Atlanta but at the same time happy that new lasting friendships had been established. 

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Posted in Camp, Haiti, International, News |

BlazeCamp 2013 Wrap Up

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By Kit McCluskey, BlazeCamp Leader

BlazeCamp  was held at the traditional location of Camp Dream at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute in Warm Springs, GA from May 278th – June 1st. The camp saw great success this year bringing in 30 participants with physical disabilities  from around the country and 12 international campers from Haiti. The purpose of the camp is to give children with physical disabilities the opportunity to meet new friends, build confidence, develop independence, and try new things and in this year’s case learn about a new culture.

Maya + Haitians

For a majority of the campers, this was their first time away from their parents and they didn’t know what to expect. With the help from the leaders, it didn’t take long for the kids to feel comfortable and immediately start playing while making new friends. Many of the staff have been campers themselves so they know what it is like. Christina Young, one of the leaders said, “I first came to BlazeCamp when I was 8 years old. I keep coming back as a leader because I want to help the campers have the same positive experience I had.” James Adams and Bryan Powell feel the same positive impact and attributed BlazeCamp to the reason they became involved in wheelchair sports.

Kayak

During the 5 day camp each camper had the chance to participate in a variety of activities including archery, fishing, soccer, bowling in addition to many others. Camper Rachel Barnett’s favorite part of the week was reaching the top of the climbing wall. It was the first time she has ever done something like that and she was able to work on her fear of heights.

Howdown 2

 

Another favorite part of the week was swimming. Campers were able to conquer their fear of water with the help of Coach Fred and staff teaching them how to swim. Seeing their success, proved to each camper how much potential they do have and nothing is holding them back from doing what they want to achieve.

Outdoor Pool

A new element of the week was the culture exchange between the Americans and the Haitians. A few of the nights, while making s’mores by the campfire, the Haitian leaders taught everyone games commonly played by kids in their country. Even with the language barrier, it was easy to interact with one another because sports and having fun is all universal.

Blue team

On the last night, the campers and leaders dressed up in their cowboy hats, overalls and bandanas and had a Hoedown party. The evening was filled with dancing, music and fun. To end the week, the campers split up into teams representing different countries for a mini Paralympic Games. Afterwards, there was a BBQ where the kids were able to share their favorite memories of the week with their families.

Haitians Hoedown

BlazeSports would like to thank all the campers and staff who came out to make for a wonderful week. We’d also like to thank our sponsors the Kyle Pease Foundation, U.S. Department of State – SportsUnited, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Resurgens Charitable Foundation. Without their generosity camp would not have been the same.

Group

 

Posted in Camp, Featured, Haiti, International, News |

BlazeSports – Haiti Cultural Exchange Experience

Haitians Wrap Up Exchange Trip to United States

After a busy weekend, the Haitian group of campers and leaders, who are participating in our U.S. Department of State – SportsUnited funded exchange trip, made their way to the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute in Warm Springs, GA to spend five days at BlazeCamp.

After unpacking their bags, the Haitian group leaders joined their American peers for camp training while the campers took a tour of the Little White House. There they learned about the history of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who himself had a physical disability but never let this get in the way of his career and achievements.

The following day the U.S. campers arrived and from the outset it was evident that the language barrier was not going to be a big issue when I came to both groups interacting and having fun. It didn’t take long for everyone to start to relax and enjoy playing games with one another. Throughout the week more and more friendships were created between the two groups. U.S. camper Derek Duvell’s favorite part of the week was getting to know the Haitians and learning more about their culture.

During camp, both the Haitian campers and leaders were trying new activities they’ve never experienced before. Some activities included learning to swim, archery and track and field events. A common favorite was being able to go out on the lake in canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. Everyone was having a good time Kayakrowing under the fountain to cool off on the hot day. A true culture exchange moment came during the nights at the camp fire where the leaders taught everyone games that Haitian children play in their country. All the campers were smiling, laughing and enjoying learning the new games.

On the last night of camp, everyone dressed up and threw on a cowboy hat, bandana and sheriff badges for the hoedown party. Once they heard the music, people were showing off their best dance moves and having a great time. To end the week at camp, the campers split up into teams representing different countries for a mini Paralympic Games where more activities were played. Once the day started wrapping up, it was time to say goodbye to a group of people who truly made the week an unforgettable one.Haitians Hoedown

For their last day, the group was able to buy some souvenirs for themselves and family members and have an “all American” style sleepover at the Powder Springs First United Methodist Church.

Everyone was sad to see the Haitian exchange group fly on Sunday after 10 fantastic days in Atlanta but at the same time happy that new lasting friendships had been established. 

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Posted in Camp, Featured, Global Initiatives, Haiti, International, Internships, News |

BlazeSports Delivers Second Mini Festival to Promote Physical Activity in Haiti

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This past week, BlazeSports Haiti organized the second of four mini festivals designed to promote physical activity in Haiti. This second mini sports festival included the participation of 74 students (36 females) from the Monfort Institute.

The Monfort Institute, led by Sister Mona Haig, is a well-known religious institution in Haiti that works with young people who have visual impairments, blindness and deafness,  with ages ranging from 3 to 20 years of age. The institution has more than 350 students of whom 92 are serving as interns. They offer courses ranging from kindergarten to professional technical studies, and with branches in three areas of the country, the Monfort Institute is undoubtedly one of the major centers for deaf education in Haiti.

The festival activities took place, thanks to funding from USAID, US Department of State – Sports United, and the United Nations Office for Sport Development and Peace, in a fun and festive atmosphere, featuring workshops of athletics, including boccia, volleyball, recreational games and a major focus on football. Under the guidance of six specialized BlazeSports leaders and with the help of Monfort Institute staff, the students participated in activities for 4 hours straight, demonstrating great sportsmanship and friendly interactions throughout the day. 

In addition to the success of the activities, we must also mention that President of the National Paralympic Committee of Haiti, Jean Chevalier Sanon, as well as sports journalist of Le Nouvelliste, Enock Nere, made visits to the festival to observe the activities. 

 My World 2015

BlazeSports and Haitian kids suggested priority for the UN Global Survey for a better world: Sport for Development

 

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The girls from the Monfort Institute warming up to take part in the physical activities.

 

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BlazeSports trained coaches lead stretching before the soccer session.

 
Posted in Featured, Football 7-a-side, Haiti, International, News |

Video Exclusive: Sport as a Vehicle of Change in Haiti

 

As part of its multi-year project, funded by USAID,  US Department of State (SportsUnited) and the UNOSDP, BlazeSports is continuing to provide new and improved opportunities for people with disabilities in Haiti to participate in sport. Following our extensive in country work, and with specific support from SportsUnited, a delegation of 20 youth with disabilities and emerging leaders from Haiti will travel to Georgia to participate in BlazeSports Summer Camp. Youth with disabilities from Haiti will join with their peers from Georgia and across the US in a 10 day cultural sports exchange at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. The residential camp will include track and field, swimming, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, boccia, wheelchair lacrosse, and table tennis. Additional activities include water skiing, scuba, kayaking/canoeing, fishing, camp fires and bowling.

The video below provides an insight to the activities which Blaze staff and US based exchanged participants experienced when they recently traveled to Haiti:

– See more at: http://www.blazesports.org/2013/02/haitians-to-participate-in-blazecamp/#sthash.Q601p4tj.dpuf

 

 

 

 

During the 7 day sport and cultural exchange experience, BlazeSports had a key role in supporting the Haitian Paralympic Committee National Disability Sport Festival. Additionally, Blaze staff delivered Paralympic sport training to 96 young leaders, coaches, and instructors in order to increase capacity of Haitians involved in Paralympic sport. Moreover, BlazeSports provided a cultural exchange opportunity for 4 Americans including 3 members of the US Paralympic soccer team and a sport management student from Springfield College.

 

Posted in Camp, Featured, Haiti, International, News |

UK Channel 4 to Broadcast 2014 & 2016 Paralympic Games

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has awarded the UK television rights for the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games to Channel 4 following a highly competitive bid process. For the first time in its history, the IPC has signed a two Games broadcast deal with a national television network. Learn more: http://www.paralympic.org/news/channel-4-secures-2014-and-2016-paralympic-games-rights

Posted in International, News |

Human Rights Day 2012

 

Monday, December 10th is Human Rights Day.

From http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/

Human Rights Day presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.

This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.

These human rights — the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government (articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) have been at the centre of the historic changes in the Arab world over the past two years, in which millions have taken to the streets to demand change. In other parts of the world, the “99%” made their voices heard through the global Occupy movement protesting economic, political and social inequality.

Make your voice count!

Share your thoughts about the right to participate in public life and political decision-making, using #VoiceCount.

Take part in a series of four Goolge+ Hangouts between 22 November and 10 December to engage with senior UN officials and leading experts on the rights of minorities, persons with disabilities, the impact of business on human rights, and beyond.

And, starting on 1 December, send us your questions using#AskRights. Selected questions will be answered by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, at a Human Rights Day Google+ Hangout.

Stay tuned for more information.

Posted in International, News, Policy/Advocacy |