The last four years has seen the SAC annual camp grow from strength to strength. Although basketball training was part of it, education played an even more pivotal role, gathering some well known and accomplished Gambian speakers who delved into topics that challenged our participants, from personal development to healthy lifestyles, goal setting and much more. Although the camps were meant to give back to youths, it is always amazing how I left each camp feeling more empowered, and thankful for the many lessons learned from these youths… a sentiment echoed by coaches and board members alike.
As with any developing countries, education plays a key role. One of the biggest hurdles faced in Gambia, is students who concentrate solely on being sports professionals and neglect education (cutting classes, failing exams, dropping out etc) with the hopes of landing a career in the sport. This is a growing problem especially with the big incentives given to youth national teams that end up doing well in international competitions. All of a sudden everyone thinks they can be the next big thing, forgetting everything else…hence the necessity in educating about both.
In the camps, there is always a wow factor, listening to some of the essays, or the debating skills of the selected finalists for the camper of the year, or the 30 minutes given each day for a selected group to plan whatever they want. The poets, writers, business people, actors, comedians etc, should brace themselves for the talent we’ve seen from these young people.
Four years means that our strategic plan was just completed. All the goals we set out to achieve were done and we are proud to have revived more interest in education and sports, especially basketball in the country. Given that the main goal of SAC is to promote education through sports, we have decided to have a year of reflection and planning, in order to add a few other sports and help revive those as well. It is in this vain that I would like to announce that there will be NO camp for this year.
Our sponsors from both Finland and Gambia are a big reason for our success and we thank you all!, particularly (Amersports, Soppeenharjun Koulu, Sääksjärven Koulu, TSS Group, University of Helsinki student union, West Coast Radio, Independence stadium, FIG Bureau de change, The daily Observer). Partnerships with the ministry of education & ministry of youth and sports, proved that the Government has interest in developing young people through our programs…at least verbally. We hope to continue these partnerships in the near future and look forward to an amazing camp next year.
SAC has had a pretty good few months during the latter part of 2012 and beginning of 2013. Not much updating has been taking place due to continuous technical difficulties with the site. We are glad to finally get back online and give some update on what’s been happening especially in Gambia. In August 2012, we had our best basketball/educational camp to date, which we shared with you in earlier posts. Below are excerpts of events after the camp.
- October to December 2012 – As you probably realize this period is the time that we organize the schools’ basketball competitions. We have made several attempts with the Secondary Schools Sports Association and with a few PE Teachers developed competition schedules which did not come off the ground. The reason was mainly that some of the schools that won prizes in their athletics and football competitions last year were not given their cash prizes and withdrew the last minute from the schedules. Of course the Gambia Secondary School Sports Association, who is partner to SAC in this event, had budgetary constraints since their budgets for supplementary funding by the Ministry of Education were not granted. I am told that now they have sorted out with the Ministry and perhaps things will return to normal this year.
- The Board has not been able to meet for a while after the Chairman left abruptly for treatment to the UK in November and I have not been well either. Since he has still not returned we have been able to get the Vice Chairman to take over his responsibility and we have already planned and taken strategic decisions on several things in early 2013:
- The activity plan for 2013 is below
- We are working to update the website – since we have renewed the annual fee we have now added comments from students’ essays written during the last year summer camp. information on the upcoming summer camp will soon be placed in the website. We have approached a few schools now and given them the website address as well as the facebook so that we can have them visit the site and make comments in the facebook.
- SAC Clubs: we have started to talk to two schools St Therese’s Upper Basic School and St Therese’s Lower Basic School. The Principals of the two schools have been approached and they have accepted the idea in principle. We are now working out the modalities and hopefully will start in earnest when the new school year begins in September/October 2013. However some of the students of these two schools will attend this year’s summer camp and we will surely have a session on formation of SAC Clubs in schools.
- Donation of Balls: This year in October/November 2012, we have donated basketballs and volleyballs to the following schools and a basketball team:
- St Georges’ Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School – Basse, Upper River Region
- Fatima Senior Secondary School, Bwiam, West Coast Region
- St Vincent De Paul Senior Secondary School, West Coast Region
- A senior basketball team organized and being trained by Mrs Yassin Joof Jow (one of the SAC Board members), at the Independence Stadium, Bakau.
- YMCA Gambia -We have reviewed our MoU with the YMCA Gambia and are waiting to sign it this month May. We have approached two partners to talk to them about supporting the after school program, Gambia Electrical and Banjul City Council. I am at this point preparing a sponsorship plan and hopefully before the end of May will approach them with the plan.
- University of Helsinki: Report on the use of HYYK funds have been forwarded to the coordinator both narrative and financial reports in February 2013. The Report was acknowledged and we await their comments.
- Strategic Plan – the plan 2010 to 2012 is being reviewed involving stakeholders as well. See the Activity Plan for details. The Vice Chairman and Director have started meeting with a few stakeholders to discuss the plan and hear their views on the new plan to be formulated for 2014 to 2016.
- Kids Radio Program: Involvement with Kids Radio Program - SAC is now contributing once a month to the Kids Radio Program broadcast on West Coast Radio which comes up every Saturday. During the program Kids talk about the importance of Education in Sports and how they can progress in life through sports. The plan for more involvement in this program is being worked out with the Coordinator of the program before it is presented to the Managing Director and proprietor of the Radio.
- Finance: In February 2013, the Board approved the investment of the balance of funds in SAC Current Account to six months Treasury Bills. This will mature by the 7th of August 2013. We will however be able to get some funds to run our summer camp and will replenish any amount spent after the maturity date of 7th August 2013.
The 4th annual Summer Basketball Camp organised by the Scholar Athletes for Change (SAC) Gambia, wrapped-up on thursday at the Independence Stadium in Bakau. The five-day camp with the theme “Hazards of Life” brought together students between 10-17 years and from different schools within the entire country.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Andrew Dacosta, vice chairman of the SAC Board of Directors, said the camp was very successful, as the students have learned a lot through the sports, but especially with the educational aspect. He therefore thanked all those who in one way or the other supported them, particularly Galp Energia, Social Welfare Department, Amer Sports, University of Helsinki Student Union as well their other counterparts in Finland.
For his part, Momodou Sabally, director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, thanked the organisers and those that helped in making the camp a success. Sabally, who also made a presentation during the course of the camp on the theme “Navigating through the Hazards of Life” also urged the participants not to forget what they have learned at the camp, while urging to learn to become good writers. He assured that he would work very closely with his Ministry to support the young Gambian talents. Sabally finally commended Pierre Jallow, founder of SAC and the SAC Board for the initiative.
On his part, the chairman of National Sports Council, Omar Bun Njie, said the government of The Gambia is always ready to support young people especially those in search of knowledge. He therefore urged the participants to implement the knowledge gained and encourage others to come on board. He thanked those who have passion in sports, saying, “Whatever you do in sports will be recognised because we are coming to organise an award for all set records in sports”. He urged the organisers to continue this kind of camps so as to develop both basketball and educate young people in The Gambia.
Chief Paul Odimmegwa, who spoke on behalf of the parents, thanked the organisers.He concluded by thanking the children for participating and urged them to keep participating in this kind of trainings so that it can help to move The Gambia forward.
Martin Gomez, principal of St. Augustine SSS, who is also the president of the Gambia Senior Secondary School Sports Association (GSSSSA) said his association has been part of SAC since its inception. He stated that SAC has really helped in reviving the basketball game in schools. “To whom much is given, much is expected and there is much expected from the participants,” he remarked.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Ramatoulie Mboob, a participant said the camp is very important as they have learned a lot. She finally thanked the organisers and those who made it successful. At the end of the ceremony, participants were awarded with prizes and certificates of various categories for their successful participation in the camp.
A two-day skills training focusing mainly on rules and regulations of the basketball game, refereeing matches, and more knowledge on basketball for basketball coaches and Physical Education (PE) teachers, Monday kicked-off at the Friendship Hostel of the Independence Stadium in Bakau. The last day of the training is Friday, August 3rd, 2012.
Organised by the Scholar Athletes for Change (SAC) The Gambia in collaboration with their SAC counterpart in Finland, the training is part of a build-up to its 4th annual Basketball Summer Camp that will properly kick-off today for students from various schools across the country, between the ages of 10-17.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, George Gomez, chairman of SAC Gambia welcomed the participants to the training, while describing it as very important in the development of sports in the country. He urged them to disseminate the knowledge gained among their colleagues.
According to him, participants in this training will assist during the course of the camp, adding that the training is part of proper planning ahead of the proper camp today, Tuesday. He used the opportunity to thank their counterpart from Finland for joining them in the programme.
For his part, Joe Jallow, director of SAC Gambia, thanked all those who have supported them in one way or the other in organising the camp, especially Galp Energia, AmerSports, Department of Social Welfare, and their Finnish partners.
According to him, SAC, since inception has created big impact on the lives of the children, particularly in reviving interest in sports (basketball) that has lost its glory. Sport is the one constant that brings young people together to help bigger and more important issues. For their part, Seth Williams from United States and Moses Njie, a Gambian basketball referee, both of whom are resource persons, said the training is a great opportunity to learn new things and make an impact on their colleagues as well s campers.
Officially declaring the training open, Mamodou Max Jallow, executive secretary of the National Sports Council said SAC has been doing a lot for the development of young people through sports. He made assurances for his office’s close collaboration and support.
THE THEME OF THIS YEAR’S CAMP IS “HAZARDS OF LIFE”
THE PROGRAMME WILL START WITH A SEMINAR FOR PE TEACHERS, COACHES AND REGIONAL SPORTS COORDINATORS ON MONDAY 3OTH JULY 2012 . THE SEMINAR WILL BE ON REFERREEING BASED ON FIBA RULES AND REGULATIONS.
THE CAMP WILL BEGIN ON TUESDAY 31ST JULY 2012. ALL REGISTERED STUDENTS SHOULD NOTE THAT THEY SHOULD REPORT AT THE INDEPENDENCE STADIUM BASKETBALL COURT AT 9AM. STUDENTS THAT ARRIVE LATE WILL NOT BE REGISTERED.
THE DAILY SCHEDULE WILL INCLUDE EXPERIENCED SPEAKERS WHO WILL ADDRESS THE STUDENTS ON TOPICS COVERING THE THEME. THERE WILL ALSO BE AN ESSAY AND BLOGGING COMPETITION FOR CAMPERS.
Joe Jallow: SAC Gambia Director
The 3rd Annual Basketball Competitions organised by Scholar Athletes for Change (SAC) in collaboration with the Secondary Schools Sports Association (SSSA) was recently concluded at the Serrekunda Mini Stadium with Saint Augustine’s Senior Secondary School emerging as winners of the boys’ teams and Saint Peter’s Technical Senior Secondary School for the girls.
Each year since 2009 SAC collaborates with SSSA to organise this competition.The aim is mainly to provide an opportunity for the students that attend the basketball summer camps run by Pierre Jallow, founder and president of SAC and a former professional basketball player, to put into practice the skills that they have learnt from the camps. In fact this year the girls’ teams were organised by their respective schools and they played in the competition for the first time.
The Competition was scheduled in two rounds.The first round started from the 23rd January and ended 3rd February 2012.The second round and finals were held between the 9th and 14th April 2012.
Games were played at the Serrekunda Mini Stadium and the YMCA Basketball Courts. A total of eleven schools participated in the first round both boys and girls; in the second and final rounds a total of eight schools competed for the boys teams and six schools for the girls teams.
Trophies were awarded to the winning schools as follows:Girls Teams: Championship Trophy was won by St Peters Technical Senior Secondary School; Most disciplined team was won by Muslim Senior Secondary School; Most valued player was Mariam Bojang of Methodist Academy (Trophies donated by Scholar Athletes for Change SAC).
Boys teams: Championship trophy was won by St Augustine’s Senior Secondary School (Trophy donated by Trust Bank Ltd. Gambia)and a cash prize of D10,000; Most disciplined team was won by Kotu Senior Secondary School (Trophy donated by the YMCA).
Runners-up, Girls – Methodist Academy Cash prize of D4,000; Boys – Gambia Senior Secondary School Cash prize of D6,000.The SAC Board of Directors and the SSSA Executive Committee is grateful to the following sponsors of the competition since it started in 2009: SAC Finland, Fr. Joseph Gough, University of Helsinki Students Fund, Trust Bank Ltd, YMCA The Gambia and Serrekunda West Mini Stadium Management Committee, Independence Stadium, Plymouth Banjul Challenge.
With their support the promotion of eduction through sports is taking hold and basketball is gradually gaining its momentum with the organising of competitions amongst the school children. We do hope that using this platform as a way of sensitizing youths about healthy eating, importance of exercise and sexually transmitted diseases.
The next major activity from SAC is the upcoming Summer Camp scheduled for the 30th July to 4th August 2012.
SAC has recently partnered with Academy of Future College Athletes (AFCA) a Washington based NGO. The project is meant to provide educational, sports and cultural experiences through an exchange program for 12 boys from Finland to the USA . The project is spear headed by two active parents who are also prominent and well respected members of the Finnish community (Matti Copeland & Petteri Saarinen) alongside SAC Founder & President (Pierre Jallow ).
The program is for 10-14 days, for 15 & 16 year old boys basketball players travelling from end of May to beginning of June 2012. The students will be hosted by local families who have kids of similar ages and part of a team in Puyallup district in Washington. The students will get a chance to play in basketball games and tournaments. Most importantly, they will get a chance to engage in some planned educational and cultural experiences as we aim to promote education through sports. Participants will create blogs, write articles and also make a school presentation about their expectations, experiences, and lessons leart throughout their trip. We are in talks with Microsoft to sponsor us with their hardware and software products and have already planned a special visit to the Microsoft campus in Washington. We are also looking forward to getting some support to help subsidize the trip and make it more affordable for parents. Adidas is already a sponsor and will be providing the gear at a much cheaper rate.
There is an open selection process for 12 basketball players currently going on and set to finish at the end of this month. Given the limited number of participants, interested persons are urged to contact the head coach for the project who is also the head of basketball for YMCA Helsinki (Juuso Milen) at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively any of the committee members listed on the on the link below. The participants will sign a 2 year contract as they will also be receiving their counterparts from Washington next year. A possibility for integrating SAC Gambia and making them hosts during the third year is being considered, as they will have a similar age group of students in their After School Project. Below are the project goals and if you share in them, please contact any of the committee members for ideas, support and/or participation.
1. Provide educational and cultural exchange opportunities
2. Create better understanding of different cultures and eliminate prejudice
3. Provide opportunities for talented basketball players to get exposure
4. Help prepare students to interact better in a Global environment
More Info about project: ambassador project
More info about partner organization: www.afcathletes.org
SAC Gambi’s Annual Schools’ Tournament starts this Monday the 23rd January 2012. Below are the fixtures
GROUP A – VENUE: SK WEST MINI STADIUM
1. ST AGUSTINES Vs. DADDY JOBE MONDAY JANUARY 23RD
2. J.C. FAYE Vs ST. PETERS TUESDAY “ 24TH
3 KOTU Vs DADDY JOBE WEDNESDAY “ 25TH
4 J.C.FAYE Vs ST AUGUSTINES THURSDAY “ 26TH
5 ST PETERS Vs KOTU FRIDAY “ 27TH
6 DADDY JOBE Vs J.C.FAYE MONDAY “ 30TH
7 ST AUGUSTINES Vs ST PETERS TUESDAY “ 31ST
8 KOTU Vs J.C. FAYE WEDNESDAY FEB 1ST
9 ST PETERS Vs DADDY JOBE THURSDAY “ 2ND
10 KOTU Vs ST AUGUSTINES FRIDAY “ 3RD
GROUP B – VENUE: YMCA BASKETBALL COURT
1. GSSS Vs. MUSLIM MONDAY JANUARY 23RD
2. NDOWS Vs GMA TUESDAY “ 24TH
3 NUSRAT Vs GSSS WEDNESDAY “ 25TH
4 GMA Vs MUSLIM THURSDAY “ 26TH
5 NDOWS Vs NUSRAT FRIDAY “ 27TH
6 GSSS Vs GMA MONDAY “ 30TH
7 NDOWS Vs MUSLIM TUESDAY “ 31ST
8 NUSRAT Vs GMA WEDNESDAY FEB 1ST
9 GSSS Vs NDOWS THURSDAY “ 2ND
10 MUSLIM Vs NUSRAT FRIDAY “ 3RD
All schools bring their female teams and they play on the same date as the male teams. Female games start at 4pm and Males at 5pm.
The Gough Foundation through Father Joseph A Gough, a retired Holy Ghost Catholic Priest has donated to Scholar Athletes for Change Gambia (SAC) a total of $2,000 over the last six months in support of our activities. The first donation of $1,000 was made in May 2011 to support the 3rd annual Summer Camp which was successfully held at the Independence Stadium, Bakau from 25th to 30th July 2011. Another donation of $1,000 was recently received in January 2012 to support the 3rd annual Senior Secondary Schools basketball competitions which commences on Monday 23rd January 2012.
Father Gough worked in The Gambia for several years as Principal of St Augustine’s High School where he encouraged the students to be engaged in sports. He contributed greatly in the development of education and sports at the grassroots level. His philosophy was ‘Education first then Sports’ and in that vein he created what SAC now calls ‘The After School Program’. This means that students must attend to the regular school program scheduled for the day following which they are provided with an hour and a half of studies followed by skills training in the sport of their choice. Since SAC has now fully developed the After School Program which will be launched in the last quarter of 2012, we will continue to collaborate with the Gough Foundation.
Father Gough returned to the Gambia after his retirement and has funded many projects especially in the area of sports infrastructure. He built the state of the art Sporting Complex in Manjai Kunda and handed it over to the community to manage. He is currently refurbishing the Manneh Sillah Basketball Court in Banjul which is also nearing completion and will be opened soon. This is only to name a few.
We thank him for his invaluable support to the people of The Gambia and SAC in particular and look forward to a continued partnership.
By: SAC Gambia Director