Although the never-ending saga relating to my tooth, due to the rugby injury I sustained last July continues to suck, there are many positive events that have occurred recently! First and foremost, the SVG RUFC has a new executive board. Prior to the election of the new executive board, a committed group of players and non-players have been meeting regularly to re-direct SVGRUFC. This group has certainly facilitated the election of the new EBoard, which is dedicated and focused on re-establishing rugby in St. Vincent as the force it once was. This includes focusing on increasing awareness and interest in rugby and in particular, in the youth. We have initiated a school and youth programme, whereby a coach goes into schools to teach rugby fundamentals during P.E. classes, as well as run after school rugby programmes. So far, the coach along with myself and one other past-coach are coaching in 5 schools. In addition to these schools, there are number of other interested schools that are awaiting a schedule. There are other current rugby players that have initiated youth teams in their villages as well.
The new EBoard has been particularly focused on increasing awareness of SVGRUFC through monthly community outreach events. These events include beach cleans, donations and visits to the mental institute and the poor home. We have also been conducting fundraising events to raise funds for our youth programme and summer camp. These events have also led to a number of positive media publicity, including a video featuring our beach cleans. Check them out here and here!
Just recently, the SVGRUFC was an invited guest on the Peace Corps Radio Show. The radio show is conducted twice a month and showcases the various projects that Peace Corps Volunteers are involved in. This was a very positive experience, despite the fact that I am terrified of public speaking. With me, I brought the youth coach to highlight the school and youth programme. Together, we covered topics ranging from the history of rugby in SVG, what we are up to now, the school programme, the summer camp, and our community outreach programme.
Since the Annual General Meeting was held in April 2013, the new EBoard has been extremely busy. First we amended our constitution to refocus our efforts and ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. Next, we have been very busy meeting with pertinent ministries and organizations to get our name back out there, to help us re-focus, and to gain support and guidance and possibly sponsorship. Specifically, we have had successful meetings with the National Sports Council and National Olympic Committee to help aid us in our pursuit of increasing interest in SVGRUFC through our various initiatives, most notably the school and youth programme and the summer camp. While, I haven’t been attending most of the meetings on account of my other job, school!, I have been writing most of the documents including the constitution, letters for meeting requests, sponsorship, grant applications, proposals, budgets, etc.
In conjunction with our school and youth programme, we are well underway in the planning stages of a summer youth rugby camp. The camp will be a month long and will consist of four one-week long camps to be held in villages throughout the island, so as to ensure the opportunity reaches as many youth as possible. It can be quite difficult (expensive) to send children to Kingstown, the capital, everyday to attend camps. We, therefore, thought it was best to bring the camp to those children who might not be able to attend otherwise. We are also hoping to have a guest coach, whom I have worked with when I was in university, come and help out! The month-long camp will culminate in a tournament and fun day, where we hope to choose an U19 team.
Aside from all the administrative work that has been taking place, the team itself has seen an increased turn out at training sessions. When I first started training with the SVGRUFC, there would be approximately 5 people and each time it would be a different set of people. Now we are consistently seeing approximately 20 people at training sessions. Though, the attendance by the women’s team is still significantly lacking.
We recently traveled, by sailboat!, to St. Lucia for a friendly game. Both the men’s and women’s 7 a-side teams played. We had a lot of fun, and more importantly learned what we (especially the women’s team) need to work on.
Next up, there is a men’s 10 a-side competition in St. Lucia in July.
I think that about sums up what SVGRUFC is up to. Please like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SVGNationalRugbyUnionTeam and check out our videos here and here! CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW WEBSITE (which I designed/created)! Also we could really use some equipment to help with our youth programme and summer camp. If you would be willing to donate equipment or money please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks :-)
The team after one of our most successful (dirtiest) beach cleans. 41 bags of garbage!
Me just before our first match in St. Lucia (injury-(minus a few scrapes-their grass was awful) free)
The Men's team in St. Lucia April 2013
The Women's Team in St. Lucia April 2013
Members of the St. Lucia and St. Vincent Men's and Women's Teams
The Crew during our Fundraising Event-Sushi Night in Bequia