06 Aug Volunteering at a local sports project in Cape Town
VOLUNTEERING AT A LOCAL SPORTS PROJECT IN CAPE TOWN – PART 1
Hi, My Fellow Volunteers,
My name is Nico, born in Italy and raised in Germany. For the past 1.5 years, I have been volunteering at a community sports project in Cape Town, where I have been placed by GAP Africa.
I am a lifelong believer that the power of sport can educate and change people’s lives. As a fitness coach and sports enthusiast, I gained vast experience across African countries teaching voluntarily football in underprivileged raw areas. Sport connects people from all walks of life and I use this powerful tool to empower and motivate young talents to strive for something bigger in life.
Cape Town got me instantly. Although I didn’t plan to stay for long. It was just planned for a month’s holiday after I launched successfully a football project in Windhoek, Namibia. It turned out in 1,5 years so far and this is my game-changer story.
While I enjoyed my time exploring beautiful places in Cape Town, when I just arrived in South Africa, I could not get enough of it. I started to look for possibilities to volunteer in a sports project, to give my stay more value. I emailed GAP Africa and a few days later I got an invitation to introduce myself to the community sports project in Hout Bay. It was a very warm welcome in a cool atmosphere, amongst young coaches and two other volunteers. One of three trustees at the community sports project, explained to me the way they operate and what he expects me to do. The beauty in this place is that you can help and get involved with all you have got and there is absolutely no reason to be shy or creative or do things for the first time in your life. So, I offered my fitness coaching knowledge to improve the overall team fitness.
This is how the Football Community Project happened to me. Founded as a charity football club whose mission and vision is to uplift the community, using only local players. Reading through their website I was delighted to see they are aligned with my ideology.
The Football club plays in the 3rd South African national division. Only two promotions away from the Premier Division. This is insane and I was straight away impressed about how well developed their setup is compared to other teams in their league and a league above them.
My time volunteering with the football community project started in February 2019. I got to know the first team, youth team players, and the ladies team. All great people and always available for a laugh. The youth academy, for 6 to 11 years old, is where the young talents do their first steps in football. Besides this, they run a wonderful project called “Rainbow football” which brings primary school kids from different cultural backgrounds together. Our female players help them afterward with their homework in the nearby located clubhouse.
Joining the first team for home and away games gave me so much confidence and a feeling of being part of a great project. From week to week I got the opportunity to get more involved in some decision making, predominantly about how to prepare properly for pre-season 2019. I am sure, if I didn’t take it as seriously from the very beginning, I would have never been asked if I could stay for longer. I was asked to stay as long as I wanted, to support the team and all operations around the club.