Sometime not too long ago, I heard the quote that goes something like, “Today’s children are the grandparents of the people who will change the world.” I guess it’s meant to imply that the world WILL change and that it will take time. It’s an optimistic message in some circumstances where the change that people are looking to see isn’t seen to necessarily be possible by all. I’d like to edit that quote for these kids, right here, right now, to “Today’s children will change the world.”
Of that, for these kids, I have no doubt.
This morning’s coffee was especially good, made more so by the fact that I managed to get to sleep rather early. Fully awake for my round of hot cocoa and corn flakes, I talked to more new staff members at breakfast before heading out to the field at 8:15, with a quick stopover in the auditorium to get an afternoon slideshow prepped for David. By 8:30 all the coaches were getting cleated up for the morning coaches training session. People threw around on the field as everyone got set, and when everyone was ready Mickey led the whole crew of 60+ staff through an example warmup.
After she finished I prompted to group to share their best dynamic stretches. It was fun to see what they brought up. We then transitioned into coaching teams where each group was given 10 minutes to figure out how they would teach their first lesson on vertical stack. Two groups were then chosen at random and the rest of the teams played the role of UP campers. The lessons went really well. The content was strong, the player management was nuanced (for the most part :) ), and tons of great information was shared.
Next, the same thing was done with dump-swing-continue. Once again the lessons came together well. I was particularly impressed by how well the new coaches had figured out the proper pacing for new material, and for figuring out the proper brevity. We capped off the morning with a few reminders and Nancy spoke for a bit about how to bring it all together. On a personal note, it’s continually surreal to me to work with such a truly talented coaching staff — 60+ people with well over 450 years of Ultimate experience.
Next, we moved into the auditorium for more staff training. We learned more about the staff manual and then spent about an hour working through our skits. Everyone had great things to say about what are already quite strong performances of the camp values, rules, and beliefs. Our acting talent is pretty strong :) Well, “strong”, might be the best way to put it.
We then had an hour with our coaching teams. Each team had been tasked with focusing on making sure each team job was assigned to a coaching team member and to come up with a plan for the first practice, which is happening tomorrow. My group work efficiently and everyone is clearly excited for the arrival of the campers to get all the planning and prep fully into motion. We broke early and had some time to relax before lunch. After lunch we had a meeting to go over some more training topics, and then everyone was given the chance to watch a new UP movie that follows a few local Ultimate players. Unfortunately, the English subtitles weren’t ready, so a bunch of the coaches chose to watch the video in a couple of days. I used the extra free time, which dove-tailed with me not going to the pool, to catch a really, truly amazing, power nap.
At 4:15 I was up and back to work on media in the Mohodoun. Most of the large media team checked in and we got a few systems ironed out. We now have 2 people posting to Facebook and our UP blog person (Elliot) is fully set to get people to post pretty frequently. There are 4 or 5 more people taking photos, so I should have many more to work with. Additionally, another UP coach, Katherine, is working on creating 2-3 more videos for this week. Here comes even more UP media!
By 5:15 I was setup for the last coaches training. I entered the auditorium to find Dan and David prepping an impressive video interview station for their interview with Yasmin. By a little after 5:30 the coaching session began and I ran through a few important practice design points. The coaches then grouped up with coaches from other teams and talked about their best ideas, things to avoid, and what they were most nervous about. The conversations were deep and substantial. I then brought them all together to hear what they had come up with, and have an all-coaches discussion about their thoughts. I was really happy with that they brought up.
David and Nancy then closed out the session with a discussion of how important how we teach Ultimate and Spirit is to the mission of Ultimate Peace, and how we’re in the process of figuring out a more codified vision of that future path.
We then relaxed for a bit and had a social, busy dinner during which is was hard to imagine what’s it’s going to be like with 121 MORE people in the dining hall. If it was a chaotic, spirited cacophony last week, it’s going to be… quite something this week! After dinner we all came back into the auditorium for a panel discussion. The panel was made up of 6 people who lived in Israel — 5 campers and Jez.
The panel was spectacular. Jez added a truly valuable perspective that was inspiring. The kids were articulate, brave, genuine, and bared themselves open to the whole staff. It was incredible. The wisdom of the kids was staggering. I have total and absolute faith in few things in this world. UP kids are one of those things.
Right as the panel was wrapping up, we got word that Karym had made it back to campus. The whole staff bolted for the door and created a human tunnel for him to follow that stretched the whole length of the auditorium.
About 3 minutes later he came in to huge cheers and a very happy Jez waiting for him at the end of the tunnel.
Karym then spoke for a bit about what he had been up to — working the final paper work for the 30 kids coming from the West Bank. We were so very happy to hear that all his efforts were successful and that he obtained all of the necessary permits! Hooray!
Everyone was then off to work on more prep tasks. I plugged in at my now usual media table and was soon joined by the media team. We got a post made to the UP blog and have a few more lined up. FB posting is going well, and all the photos and videos are looking great. Alex is kicking butt at creating the daily Get UP! newsletter. It’s all working well.
At 10:45 I ran the first Summer Camp head coaches meeting. We cruised through a few topics, worked through a couple concerns, and then adjourned after at my self-imposed 15 minute meeting time limit.
There is now a calm to the Mohodoun and surrounding space. We’re not frantic. We’re ready. As someone said at today’s panel, “Bring on the peace”.
Bring it on indeed.