Earlier this month our Skills Ready Career Catalyst and Ultimate Skills Coach, Jimmy Roney, took some time out of the office to volunteer at a youth leadership camp named Ultimate Peace.
Ultimate Peace was established by a group of dedicated volunteers who saw an opportunity to bring two groups of young people together, who would never otherwise meet due to the conditions of their regional conflicts. Based in the Middle East, Ultimate Peace brings Muslim, Christian, and Jewish youth together to share in the uniting experience of sport, through Ultimate. While the program takes place in a politically charged area of the world – the campers, coaches and staff don’t focus on those issues, instead, they focus on five core principles: mutual respect, friendship, non-violence, integrity and fun.
Jimmy’s love of Ultimate has helped develop his skill which has led to experiences playing for Team Canada on the world stage. We are incredibly proud and supportive of the work that Jimmy does to share his passion for the sport… and for careers in the skilled trades and technologies! Jimmy shows us every day that he is Here for Good!
HERE ARE A FEW OF THE THOUGHTS JIMMY SHARED WITH US WHEN HE RETURNED EARLIER THIS WEEK.
WHAT WAS YOUR GREATEST TAKEAWAY FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
I would say that the biggest takeaway overall is that I went there as a coach and I discovered that the kids were my teachers. I think that was the most valuable thing that I experienced. I went in wanting to contribute from my perspective of the game, but what I learned was way bigger than anything I had to contribute.
The kids that I coached had been in that program as campers and were now learning to be leaders. So, they had been around long enough to know what the mission was, and it was their expression of peace – they have sorted it out. They’ve taken this platform and made it their own. The entire time I was there, this team lived Ultimate Peace’s five pillars of mutual respect, friendship, non-violence, integrity and fun. Rarely did we have to remind the kids of these five values.
WHAT WAS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE AT THE CAMP?
Crazy! My days started out early with a coffee and quiet conversation with my fellow coaches. By 8am we were getting the campers up and getting into the day. Every minute of the day was filled with fun activities. There were clubs that met to practice activities ranging from acro-yoga and photography to dance and spoken word.
When youth were not in clubs, they were in activities like disc games and throwing. From there they might move to the pool where the leaders in training would ensure that all young people were safe. Included in the day were meal and snack times, four hours of Ultimate games and numerous other activities.
Essentially all day, you never walked alone. By 11:30pm, all campers had headed off to bed and then the coaches would meet to prepare for the next day. It was amazing…and exhausting.
WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE EXPERIENCES?
It was a simple, but powerful exchange between two young campers – Uri, an Israeli Jewish teen and Ali, an Arab Israeli youth.
Uri, one of my young players, made a play during a game that he felt caused the team to lose. He was visibly upset during the spirit circle and the high-five line at the end of the game. Seeing this, Ali, a member of the opposing team connected with Uri at the end of the game to help him deal with his feelings about the loss.
When I thanked Ali for his time, he said “Well, we are trying to be friends.” For me, that was one of the most powerful experiences.
I say this because you have to understand – here are two young men who likely never would have met outside of this camp – putting differences aside, supporting each other, and working to build a friendship. Again, here is a kid being my teacher.
HOW WILL YOU APPLY THIS EXPERIENCE TO THE WORK WE DO HERE?
The game of Ultimate was there (at camp), but the real skills that they were learning were all of the soft skills, the life skills, that can be applied to every area of your life. The skills that make you a better person and make you understand the whole, so when you enter a workplace or any environment, these skills are already a part of you.
When you are in a team and you practice showing up, having integrity, being respectful and practicing the right attitudes – you are way better setup to move forward in your career path and in your life. That’s really what we are doing here. We are enabling young people to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge they need to get ready for that first job – whether it’s through a Skills Ready Showcase Event or an Ultimate Skills Clinic, it’s all about supporting young people as they prepare for life.