Will’s first week in Kumba was jam-packed with activities. On Wednesday he met with Wallace, CFDP’s “action man” in Cameroon. Wallace is in charge of supervising the CFDP sessions that occur at some of the schools and football academies with which CFDP is partnered. Will finally saw how the CFDP programs that he had been reading, talking, and writing about for months actually work and run.
The first program Will observed was at Nkamlikum secondary schools in Kumba. The sessions began around 4:30-5pm, functioning as after-school programs for students of the schools who are registered with CFDP. The “leader” of the program was a man named Ivo, who was officially trained by the CFDP organization’s curriculum. Ivo led the children through different ice-breaker activities, soccer drills, and exercises. In between all of these Ivo held group discussions about the importance of life skills and values such as teamwork, communication, healthy communication with family members, and focus on schoolwork. The children were laughing and smiling throughout the entire session and fully focused on their leader, Ivo. Children uninvolved with the program were even standing on the sidelines to watch, jealous of their peers who were participating in the CFDP event. This program allowed Will to see the concrete evidence of his efforts for the past few months, as the children were clearly receptive to the messages being taught to them by Ivo and were enjoying the healthy living advocated to them by CFDP.
Will also observed sessions at Kanjas Football Academy and Olympic Fruiting Football Academy and spent a lot of his time during his first week getting to know the CFDP management team. CFDP’s big project for the impending summer is to run a U-16 youth football league for clubs around Kumba starting around the beginning of July. Will met with Wallace and Martin on Thursday to see the progress they had made in planning the league. To Will’s delight, he learned that both CFDP management members had already reached out to a variety of youth football clubs around Kumba to inform them about the league. At this point, it is up to each individual team to register for the league with CFDP. The registration goes until May 31st so hopefully they register soon!
The summer league will be unique because, as a CFDP league, it must be educational. As such, Will is in charge of designing pre-and post-game ceremonies that around educational topics such as self-respect, teamwork, communication, HIV/AIDS awareness, and good sportsmanship. Clearly, the scope and goals of the CFDP summer league are big and exciting.
Will has been amazed and surprised during his first week in Kumba, Cameroon, resulting in an incredibly rewarding first few days. He was able to finally see the concrete results of his efforts from America. He was able to see the programs he had been advocating and raising money for, and is seeing firsthand the benefits the Cameroonian children are experiencing as a result of CFDP’s efforts. Will’s first week in Kumba is the beginning of a very beneficial and special four months where he and the other members of CFDP will improve children’s lives through the sport of football.
Written by Will Dodds and Kelan Lyons
Edited by Kelan Lyons