The 8th annual, Coaching for Conservation (C4C) primary School Soccer camp has kick started, with this year being attended by nearly 30 professional soccer coaches, educators, facilitators and volunteers from around the world to mentor the children and teachers.
The Director of Coaching for Conservation, Leslie Boggs, said seven hundred students from 22 Maun Primary Schools are participating in the weeklong camp at the Maun Sports Stadium.
Boggs said the primary school students are receiving high level coaching from internationally acclaimed coaches from United Kingdom, USA, Boston College, Harvard University and many other international institutions. She said “this will help them to develop their football skills, and practice behaviors which reflect the program’s core values.”
C4C has developed a unique “Learning from Wildlife” curriculum where students learn behaviors and lessons from wildlife by translating their behaviors into important football skills.
Boggs said from the time they initiated the programme in Maun, Botswana’s youth are becoming accomplished football players, healthier individuals and more responsible national and global citizens.
“We intend to expand this programme to the rest of the country, for the benefit of all primary school students,” she said. Coaching for conservation is now in its 8th year and this internationally acclaimed program has benefited more than 3,000 Maun Primary School children since 2004.
Boggs said the program has grown from its annual soccer camp where professional soccer and conservation coaches mentor Primary School youth using a specially designed Learning from Wildlife curriculum to include a permanent and full time after-school program for Primary school children. Last year, Prince William attended this event and voiced his support during a special exhibition in Maun.
All C4C programs focus on the mission to Conserve Botswana’s natural resources by using sport to engender self respect and inspire a generation of kids who care.
This year, camp will see the opening of the C4C Education Centre, which will be home to a permanent afterschool program for Standard 5 primary school children, with plans to add 1/2 day, full day, weekend and even holiday camps.
“With this center, we aim to expand our reach to hundreds more children annually offering an education and training in sport, conservation, healthy lifestyles and the core values of respect for self, others and the environment,” she said.
Boggs said, “Sustainable resource management by Botswana citizens can only stem from a fundamental shift in core values. Sport inherently creates a fun and receptive environment for learning and soccer is a great way of empowering children to adopt healthy core values.”
Coaching for Conservation is the primary social development program of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, a globally recognized wildlife conservation research program.