Training and the beginning of camp!

On Friday we had a full day of staff training. In the morning Liz had us out on the field running through a series of drill lessons. We all left well equipped to run a wide range of drills and dynamic stretches.

David then ran another round of staff orientation in the big auditorium, which was followed by some time for the coaching teams to meet. After having our last staff-only lunch, most of the staff took off to a nearby pool. I stayed back at the Manof to work on some media and to rest. When everyone returned, we spent some more time working on task team items. I spent the hour pulling together video clips for the post-dinner Ultimate video shows for the kids. We then transitioned to the auditorium where David had put together a panel consisting of Sarah, Karym, Hammouda, and Dan — a full spectrum of the people represented on the staff of Ultimate Peace 2012.

The panel lasted about an hour and a half and was incredibly poignant. Each panelist spoke about very personal views and everyone in the audience learned many new things about the region. A wonderful writeup of the panel is online right here in the official UP blog. It’s well worth the read.

The panel was followed by dinner and the last round of time for the coaching teams to meet to plan for the incoming hoard of kids! I had a great time working with my assistant coaches Adam, Ofek, and Gabe on what we wanted to work through during our 7 hours of time with the kids on Saturday. The evening was made more entertaining by the fact that my voice had decided to retreat meaning I could barely speak past a whisper. Still, we got lots done and I went to sleep feeling well prepared for Saturday.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, the whole staff met in the auditorium to practice the camp song and to go over any last minute questions. Everyone was then sent off to work on last minute tasks to get fully prepped for the incoming wave of kids.

Over by the entrance gate the welcoming group practiced running up the ramp to “Eye of the Tiger”. Tables got setup in front of the Barak building for registration. Equipment was moved around partitioned for the afternoon. At a little after 10am the first group of kids arrived! The staff greeting could be heard all over the Manof! I spent the morning moving between stations and helping get the round working in the auditorium. I had a great time moving through the central area of campus talking to kids as they relaxed and connected with old friends.

At around 12:30 the kids moved to the auditorium to watch about 20 minutes of high level youth Ultimate on the big screen. Just before 1pm the bus from the West Bank arrived meaning everyone had made it to camp! David then moved through the camp welcome talking about the meaning of Ultimate Peace, why everyone was here, as well as a myriad of introductions. Then, each of the 8 camp teams were read aloud and the teams gathered together for the first time! Everyone then moved in groups by teams into the dining hall where we all started to get to know each other. I learned a bunch of names and about the playing experience of several kids.

After lunch we moved back into the auditorium where David led the group through camp orientation. He went over important rules, the schedule for the day, and we sang the camp song. Afterwards the teams spread out around campus in shady areas to work on team bonding. My team met up under a tree outside Barak dorm where we distributed shorts and jersey and helped the kids find spaces to change. The kids who came in on the West Bank bus joined us shortly after they had registered and we eventually had everyone looking great in their camp clothing!

We then moved through a series of games including two name games, WA, Ninja, and look up look down. Last, we sat down in a circle and each camper answered the question “Why are you here? What does Ultimate Peace mean to you?”. The answers were beautiful. By this time in the afternoon I had become accustomed to the translation periods needed between spoken words. One of my campers, Ali, acted as an amazing translator. After a great cheer of “Give me a B, R, O, W, N, what’s that spell? BROWN! What’s that mean? Family!” we moved out to the fields.

Coach Adam ran the kids through a solid dynamic warm up and then we transitioned into a couple focused throwing drills. Mixing in frequent water breaks, the kids managed to stay quite active in the hot sun. Ali continued his work as a great translator, and the coaches got to know each player. We have a fantastic group of skilled players! We then moved through some more active cutting drills including the button hook drill and a round of hot box. We then had about 15 minutes of down time before scrimmaging the light blue team. The kids played very well and showed some amazing patience with the disc. Our sideline was loud and everyone wanted to get into the 5 on 5 game!

After drills the kids migrated over to dinner where everything was MUCH more lively than at lunch. Tables of teams burst into cheers at random and pretty soon the whole room was very loud! I talked more with one of my assistants, Ofek, talked with lots of my kids, and learned from Maggie that her survey work is going well. The kids were then moved into the auditorium for 20 minutes of Ultimate videos while the staff had an evening meeting check in to go over the evening activities.

The staff then moved into positions and got ready for the release of the masses. I retreated to work on the daily Get UP! bulletin and work on not talking. Around 11pm I finished work and relatively soon after went to sleep.

Here are the first two “Get UP!” daily bulletins:

Get UP! – 6/30/12
Get UP! – 7/1/12

In a few minutes I’m heading off to breakfast. I can’t wait to meet with my kids and get the day moving!

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