Today seems to be a bit of a bonus post day with this being my second 🙂
I am catching up some today and was doing some preliminary research for the major paper for this course when I came across this article which immediately caught my eye:
This appealed to me because it is something I already feel passionate about – how sports activities are capable of transcending cultural barriers.
This article focuses on the experience and value of education and sports camps run in Winnipeg, Manitoba aimed at integrating newcomer and refugee children with Canadian-born children.
The primary purpose of this camp is to help newcomer and refugee children maintain their english language skills (as well as some other subjects) during the summer months while they are off school through continued interaction with Canadian-born children.
The camps also work to transition participants to volunteers to workers, something they appear to have success at. And it is a non-profit organization that works through federal and provincial grants. They run a series of camps throughout the summer and then bring all the camps together for a day of sports, over 500 kids from all over the world playing together.
The camps also include dance which I can obviously relate to 🙂 and it reminded me of another post I saw this week on facebook from a member of my local professional dance community:
The power in this post, and the power of these camps held in Winnipeg speak to the interculturalism of sports and dance. Both of these activities cross international and cultural borders in many different ways, and it is not uncommon to see participants continually move in intercultural circles.
These activities not only speak universal languages, they provide opportunities for cultural awareness, cultural learning, and building of respect and tolerance of cultural differences – something I feel is greatly needed in the world.
Music is another universal language – you don’t need to speak the same language or be from the same culture to read the notes on a page and create music with a foreign stranger.
Through teamwork, partnerships, and shared goals comes shared values, understanding, trust and growth. It’s a powerful thought and has the potential to be more than a dream.
Even my own experience in dance – I work regularly with a Russian instructor, I have done coaching with dancers from the British Isles, other Eastern European countries, Asia, and the U.S. – has enriched my overall understanding not only of other cultures but my own as a Canadian – just as my travels has done, except this happens closer to home and is enhanced through a shared love of dance – a starting point to connect on.
For my last course I did some research into intercultural sports relationships and two studies I came across were focused on how participation in sports and social activities eased the transition and adaptation for both immigrants and ex-pats on temporary assignments (such as an embassy posting), both adults and kids. This is really only a fledgling area of study but the potential…
For all the differences between cultures which contribute to the world being a rich, diverse and interesting place there are also so many things that are shared which can serve as starting points for bigger conversations, interactions, relationships, and friendships.
I will end with my favourite quote from the article:
“Making new friends from other countries is like seeing different people around the world,” said Hamoud, who is starting Grade 5 this fall.
Henein, who will be going into Grade 6 this year, agrees.
“It’s actually fun to get known to other people,” she said.
“We all have different cultures and we all look from different sides.”
I these pre-teens say it all.