SANDALS Foundation and the DeRo United Foundation have proven to be a winning combination for positive social growth in Barbados.
The two charitable entities recently completed a one week soccer camp at the Dover Playing Field which saw 53 children aged from 4-16 attend and leave renewed with improved football skills and life lessons to carry forth.
Headed by retired former MLS soccer player Dwayne De Rosario and his team; the coaches were hosted at Sandals Barbados and got a first-hand look at the talent the island has to offer.
The mission of the DeRo Foundation is to help youth achieve their maximum potential on and off the pitch by providing mentorship and developmental tools in the area of education, leadership, self-confidence and health and nutrition.
“It has been a fun and fulfilling week and we are blessed to work with such a talented bunch of young players and coaches. They have been attentive and willing to embrace all that we have to offer and the sessions have gone very well,” said De Rosario.
The camp was extremely detailed as the coaches held sessions on every aspect of the game from shooting to defending, as well as drills on tackling and player position, combined with motivational talks and nutritional tips.
The football camp is a part of the Sandals Foundation’s Game Changer program; an initiative to build the capacity of local coaches as well as assess local programs to see where there are shortfalls with equipment and coaching that can be supported so the development of young players can continue.
On the third day of the camp there was a surprise appearance by Soca Queen Alison Hinds who spoke to the attendees and her words of encouragement and positive reinforcement was a moment many of them would never forget having primarily seen her on the big screen or on stage.
One of the local coaches, who attended the week long camp, said that the experience was one that he will never forget.
“When we heard that Dwayne was coming to do this camp we had no idea what to expect as we had coaches come before and they were really here for a vacation. But, from the first day we saw Dwayne and his guys arrive on time, and started to set out the cones and mark the field we knew he was business.
“It was honestly too short and they really connected with the kids and coaches- no egos at all just pushed us to give our best and teach us a few tricks of the trade, I really hope there is a camp next year,” said Jonathan Straker.
Sandals Barbados General Manager Mr. Fernand Zievinger, also attended one of the training sessions and met with the coaches and children while lauding them for their commitment to sport.
“Sandals Foundation is always seeking ways to develop our young people. This program is about more than just sports, we’re trying to build a better future for the Caribbean, one child at a time.”