Ultimate Frisbee in Rural Brazil: Year 2
A Peacemaking Project by Djourdan G.
What is the injustice we are solving?
Teamwork, honesty, sportsmanship, and the importance of physical fitness remain the core goals of our project. Last year, my friend Jasper Reschauer and I crafted a summer camp especially suited to instill these valuable lessons into the lives of underprivileged children. This year, with the help from the Giving Point Institute, and our connections from the Monique Leclercq Foundation located in the remote Brazilian town of São Domingos do Prata, we harnessed the contagious fun of Ultimate Frisbee and its self-governing essence (aka “Spirit of the Game”) to deliver for the 2nd time this powerful program. Our Ultimate Frisbee Summer Camp is “as high-impact as it is low-tech.” The main difference from the 2017 camp to this year's camp is that we are expanding our program to reach more children and bringing more resources to our project. Our names are Jasper Reschauer, Georgia Leggett, and Djourdan Gomes-Johnson. We attend the Atlanta International School, the Norwich School, and Grady High School, respectively. During the last two weeks of July 2018, we will once again mentor for the second time over 100 youth at our Ultimate Frisbee camp in the town of São Domingos do Prata, in rural Brazil. If you were to Google charities and opportunities to help children in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, you would be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of results. But what of the small, isolated communities whose slums suffer from even more crushing poverty than the ones in urban areas, yet are still given the blind eye by major charities and other organizations. In the summer of 2016, Jasper came across a small organization that does everything it can to offer similar services as their International counterparts, but in a more secluded area of Brazil. Founded by a French nun who visited the little town of São Domingos do Prata and ended up staying for life to help children in the slums, the Monique Leclercq Foundation brings music, arts, homework help, warm meals, and athletic activities to underprivileged youth. Jasper learned about the existence of the Monique Leclercq Foundation through his grandmother. Unbeknownst to her, we had been putting together an Ultimate Frisbee Summer Camp as part of a school project, which we hoped to offer free of charge to poor children in Brazil. A partnership with the Monique Leclercq Foundation could be very helpful, considering that we desperately needed a platform on which to build this program. Jasper immediately contacted the organization and they ended up loving the idea. Since Ultimate Frisbee is almost unknown in Brazil, he was asked to do a trial run to give the kids an idea of what they could be doing in the summer camp. The kids enjoyed it and some demonstrated a lot of potentials. To our luck, the foundation had long been looking for a sport that was less competitive and could instill honesty-based values in children whose upbringing possibly lacked those vital lessons. Ultimate Frisbee was the perfect contender because it enforces what we call “Spirit of the Game”. The Spirit of the Game is one of the most powerful lessons of Ultimate Frisbee because of how it fosters honesty and fair play. Ultimate Frisbee is self-governed. There are no referees. The players themselves call fouls. This stimulates a friendly, honest, and constructive attitude, even between rival teams. Seeing the tremendous lengths that the members of the Monique Leclercq Foundation go to make these kid’s lives better is something truly amazing and is something that we are very fortunate to be able to be a part of. With the help from our supporters and the foundation, Jasper, Georgia, and Djourdan traveled to Brazil and hosted a 56 hour, 2-week camp, and delivered 3 meals daily to 80+ participants (ages 13-18). At the end, the camp was recognized by São Domingos do Prata's Mayor and Secretary of Sports. The impact of the camp on the community was so profound that we were requested to return for a second year. Our goal this year is to raise US$15,000 by June of 2018. The funds will be used to feed 100+ kids (2 warm meals daily to each shift = Breakfast/Lunch and Lunch/Dinner) + daily snacks and to purchase discs, cones, bibs, and other necessary resources to fulfill the project.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of political corruption in Brazil
we will address the principles of honesty, integrity, and accountability
by inspiring camp participants to live a life consistent with Ultimate Frisbee’s Spirit of the Game.
Our Project Plan:
- Teamwork, honesty, sportsmanship, and the importance of physical fitness remain the core goals of our project.
- Reach out to more children than last year.
- Bring professional ultimate players and coaches to improve the quality of our camp.
We will increase my / our compassion by...
To increase my compassion for the campers from last year, perhaps I could have individual conversations with them, with a purpose of understanding their own situations. I could give advice, or just be there for them to talk to me. I really do not know how to make this idea fluid and not offensive towards the campers, but I will continue to reflect on this idea and try to make this a reality.
How will you show courage?
I will show courage by acting more like a mentor, and less like a friend to the campers. This isn't to say that I won't be friendly with the kids, but for the camp to be successful, I will need to gain respect from the kids. Last year, there were a few kids that I got too friendly with, and then the kids would start to show off and mess around during the training sessions. My partner and I discussed this later and realized that we must set ourselves apart from the kids, even though we may be the same age as them, but to make them aware that we are in charge of them. This may seem a bit harsh, but it is just the truth. This takes courage, because I personally don't want to be strict at times, and keep being a "pal" to the campers, but to make our camp even better, this must be done.
How will you collaborate with others?
We will continue to collaborate with the Monique Leclercq Foundation and their volunteers. This year, because of our recent contact with the Sao Paulo Disc Federation, we may attempt to collaborate with them. This would be great, because if we could get frisbee coaches or mentors from them to volunteer, then it would open more possibilities for the kids of the camp, then if we were to bring American frisbee coaches and mentors.
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
This year, I will create a survey with specific questions that can be evaluated as successful or unsuccessful teaching and learning. This will be used to judge the kids' experience of our camp. This will be partially quantitative, using Likert scales, but also qualitative, with free responses from the campers. Last year we judged the engagement of the campers from our own eyes, and their excitement, and we will continue to do that. However, to make it more official, as I stated earlier, I will create a survey to know our exact success rates.
- Finalize the involvement of American Frisbee coaches/players.
- Reach out to the Sao Paulo Disc Federation
- Create a survey to evaluate our success in the eyes of the campers
31 January 2018 9:54
31 January 2018 19:42
I am excited and happy about being part of this community!
Thank you so much for the acknowledgment of our 2017 achievement. Even though it was a lot of work, it ended up being the most satisfying thing that I have ever done!
I will most definitely keep updating my project here, and I have already applied for a mini-grant.
1 February 2018 11:07
21 February 2018 10:34
Thanks so much for posting your compassionate insight! Sports can have so much power--I like the programming and space you're bringing for young folks here in this work. What's your connection to working in Brazil specifically? I see that you're based in Georgia.
As part of the Peace First project process, we give formal feedback on your compassionate insight. Once your insight is good to go, you can go ahead and apply for a mini-grant!
You listed the injustice you're addressing as "youth development," but that's not exactly what you meant, right? What's the problem you're trying to solve?
Addressing "The understanding of honesty, teamwork, self-control, sportsmanship, and physical fitness of 120 underprivileged kids" actually has more information about the injustice in here--great! How can you separate out which pieces are the injustice, and then what specifically about the injustice you'll be focusing on with your project? This second part is what fits into the "we will address" section.
This piece, "Creating an Ultimate Frisbee summer camp in rural Brazil," makes sense! Once we get the first two pieces in order, you'll be good to go.
Please let me know if you have any questions, or if there are other ways we can support you. Thanks so much for your work!
22 February 2018 13:04
Yes, I'm based in Georgia, but both my partner and I are Brazilian, and we are running our camp in the birthplace of my partner's mother. Last year we were looking for a place to run our camp, and my partner's grandmother told us about the Monique Leclercq Foundation, based in the town of Sao Domingos do Prata (where we run our camp), and the work that they do. We investigated this organization and loved the work that they do: teaching the kids music, dance, art, sports, and helping them with their school work. This was our contact in the rural town, and they helped us organize the camp locally.
Also, I have adjusted my compassionate insight, to make it more fit for my project. Thank you so much for your critical feedback, it proved to be very helpful!
I went to re-submit my mini-grant, however, I saw the information saying that the mini-grant must be used within three months. The camp itself is going to be in July so there won't be any outcomes from the use of the mini-grant until then, but I will definitely have used the grant to buy supplies. Is this okay?
23 February 2018 18:02
Glad the feedback was helpful! Please let us know how we can support you in any other way. I love hearing about your connection to this place--so cool!
In terms of the grant, I'm going to ask the person who's currently coordinating grants to hop on for that question. She's at a conference this weekend, but should be able to get back to you in a few days. Looking forward to talking more! So excited for this work.
25 February 2018 14:44
Thanks for checking in about the grant timeline. In order to participate in this cycle of the Peace First Challenge and remain eligible to apply to attend a Peace First summit later in the year, you would need to use your funds and submit your reflection by May 31st. However, you could also decide to wait until later in the year for us to process your mini-grant so that the "3 month" timeline after receiving it lines up better with your program. In that case you could write your reflection about the experience of carrying out the program, which might make the most sense for your situation.
If you prefer to stick with the current timeline, then it would be good to think about whether there are elements of your program happening between now and then (planning, building your team, recruitment, etc.) that feel like substantial work that you could reflect on. What do you think makes the most sense for your situation?