2010 Upcoming Projects

small oval 2010 Projects (Iraq):

BYSI Girls Basketball Camp Report
Dr. Sarah J. Hillyer - Basketball Camps Coordinator
Rainey Johns - Girls Basketball Camp Coordinator
August 9, 2010

Camp Participants: 23 girls from Baghdad and 4 from Babylon ages 7-15
Camp Coaches: 5 American women coaches (includes former players and 1 WNBA player)
Camp Duration: 4 days
Local Coaches: 6 (includes physical educators and/or professors)
1. Sports Skills Training: Players ages 7-15 learned new basketball skills and acquired a new appreciation for playing basketball because they gained self-efficacy through achieving success during various drills, activities, and games. GSP coaches worked hard to ensure that every girl experienced success and through a wide range of activities and cooperative games the girls grew more confident in their abilities to play basketball, work together, solve problems, communicate effectively, and respect the game, their opponents, their coaches, and themselves.
2. Character Development Training: Players participated in several activities that allowed them the safe space to express themselves physically, verbally, and emotionally. Girls were encouraged to be loud and strong during every skill building activity. GSP coaches also provided numerous opportunities for the players to practice leadership skills during the camp. For example, girls were asked to volunteer to stand in front of the group to "review teach" their peers about the skills they had learned throughout the day. These volunteer activities encouraged leadership, effective communication, and role modeling. Furthermore, the girls participated in several cooperative activities that encouraged friendships outside of their own peer-groups. Players were asked to meet a new friend everyday and to get to know some things about their new friend's family, school, club, religion, and experiences playing basketball. By the second day of camp, all the girls joined hands in a sitting circle and played games and sang songs together.
3. Coaches Development: Several local Iraqi coaches and university physical educators participated in the Girls Camp. Iraqi coaches worked alongside the American coaches to ensure the girls were having the best experience possible. Several of the coaches expressed their gratitude for the American coaches coming to share their knowledge of basketball, but most importantly an obvious desire for sincere and meaningful friendships between the peoples in both countries. I believe the experiences for the coaches were just as meaningful as they were for the girls participating in the camp. The coaches commented several times about the sports and life philosophy of the GSP coaches. They were surprised by the positive outcomes that resulted from an emphasis on fun, encouragement, and motivation. They mentioned the difference in their players' attitudes toward working hard, listening, trying new skills, respecting authority, and working together.

Our hope is that through the positive experiences of the BYSI Girls Camp that Iraqi coaches and players will continue to push forward despite social and cultural barriers and security concerns in order to create a more healthy society that includes girls and women. We believe the BYSI 2010 Basketball Camps achieved the goals set forth and we look forward to future projects in order to encourage and support Iraqi youth as they strive toward peace and hope for a better future.