By Yuot Mach Thon, President of the Youth & Cultural Affairs Aug 23, 2016
The next big thing in the Greater Bor Community is modern sport activities are being incorporated to the Awak De Michigan to make it a divest festival of various activities. This shall expand the only services the diaspora members get from their own formed community organization. The cultural activities and intermingles we enjoyed on Labor Day Weekend must be extended to our future community, the youngsters. These expansions have great benefits for youngsters (youths), community, and the win-win and broad benefits for everyone.
Benefits to the Youngsters (youths)
These expansions will attract and encourage youngsters to join, participate, and be part of their community’s activities. Many of these youths, if not all, do not participate and enjoy cultural activities as much. Therefore adding sports activities to the Awake De Michigan is something our children born and raised here can easily relate to. And the skills and talents they will gain can also be applied later in life. So it’s good to make youngsters excel at early age in sports. It gives them strong determination to compete among fairs and be happy to see parents, community, state, and the country proud of them for the pride and representation they bring.
Other important benefits of these programs are fitness and health. And with South Sudan being a young nation searching for sport and athleticism talents from its citizens within and all over the world, being organized at sports level holds hopeful potential for youths. It also allows youngsters to know each other at childhood and develop spirit of teamwork, trust, open mindedness, and tolerance to each other’s diverging views and approaches.
These skills are important tools to everything beyond individual goals and egos. It gives them trust to develop strong determination and resilience to compete and win at higher levels in sports and later in life.
Furthermore, these sport programs inspire youths to bring out best talents on stages with potential while contributing to community development. They create jobs and positive activities for youths. They provide stage for South Sudan to look for those with international sports skills such as those who mentor these programs to help them building national sport programs such as Olympics. And those mentors know youngsters who excelled beyond doubt to represent their country in either Olympics, World Cups, or organized international sport clubs.
Benefits to the community
The youngsters are the future of South Sudan’s diaspora communities. Without their participation in activities like Awak De Michigan now, that future is hard to visualize without our youths. And after all The Washington Seattle Squad, 2013 Awak De Michigan in Iowa Copy right of the GBC Media 2 let faced it, we have tried everything from individual to national organizations and none have succeeded to inspire and attracts youngsters to joint these organizations.
Why they do not is one reason this article is being written and sport activities are being incorporated to the Awak De Michigan. The office of the Great Bor Community’s Cultural Affairs is searching for answers. And all of us must do more to find answers. We must compete with modern entertainments like other communities to win our youths’ hearts and minds. They perceive basic cultural activities to be somewhat an oppressive anti modernity. And community cannot continue to reject unwanted activities without suitable alternatives activities. Finding what they like and invest in it is the future of our diaspora community that cannot wait any longer.
We do so much for back home community issues in South Sudan than for our own issues here. High percentage, about 85% if not more, of our finances, opinions, and suggestions resources are consumed by seemingly never ended back home issues we tried to solve with no avail. We have plenty problems of our own here in the diaspora. One of them is identity crisis. Our youths are struggling to maintain simple, yet important identities. Those that allow us to enjoy traditional songs, sing in Dinka churches, and to have fun at traditional dances.
Seeing this happening already in first immigrants generation with parents who know culture and language well should compel our communities to support these sport programs. Cultural activities from Awak De Michigan are the only services we get once a year from the Greater Bor Community administration. These little services must be made attractive and extended to the future of our community, the youths.
These sport programs are an invitation from community to its youths to join cultural activities and observe our language and norms. These are immediate benefits to the community but the future benefits are many. Besides fitness, they allow the community to acquires and develop athleticism skills and talents for its youths’ future in sport. And for development, they are initial demands to build sport infrastructure such as indoors and outdoors facilities, school playgrounds, and public parks.
They can also create commercialized professional sports to raise revenues to empower community based development programs. And this means creating jobs.
Also they are ways to build strong coaching and leadership skills for adults that mentor these programs and these skills are needed to move our community and the country forward. And most importantly they allow the community to render youths’ services in their own know how way. They also create none political social connections among youths and children at early age to make friends, and build trust, which is good for unity. With these potential benefits, the best thing the community can do is to prepare its youngsters to not be afraid but hopeful to excel in small local programs like these Greater Bor Sport initiative. To make children aware and be ready for more competitive and crowded school programs, traditional based sports such as wrestling, state and national sports, and international mega arenas such as Olympics and World Cup. And this means future of the community as well.
Successful developing of these community based sport programs is also good for the country. It creates stage in which national sport institutions search potential talents to represent the country, be in coaching or direct competitions. And diaspora is where children are exposed to diverse world sports. It is the best place to search for such potential.
An examples of such successful diaspora talents that either directly or indirectly represent South Sudan on global arenas are Lopez Lomong in 2008 Beijing Olympics in China, Guor Marial and our refugee athletes of track and field in recently concluded Rio Olympics in Brazil, and among others in major soccer leagues and National Basketball Association, NBA, such as late Manut Bol, Luol Deng, and recently drafted 7 footer Thon Maker. And the Greater Bor Community, GBC, children are no exception if put in right passes of possibilities.
Any of them can be the next best examples of such successful local talent going national and global 3 simultaneously. Let’s work hard to give our children an opportunity to be among the yet to be discovered more talents out there. With strong hearts, background of struggles, determination, and height of our children, any lucky member of our community’s child could be the next big thing. Therefore these simple programs are important. They need to be developed independently from all other distractions, register to seek grand from local governments that received federal funds for active little league sport programs.
Independently they can also seek donations from well wishes investors, and sponsors. All these chances are only possible when parents and community first organize, sponsor, and supported these programs. These are small but effective services concern community organizations like Greater Bor Community, GBC, and its three counties leaderships should prioritize to members before all else. They are one that funded them. Others can only help where community comes up short. And with dedicated visionary leadership and guidance, these programs usually support communities that invest in them.
They also keep children busy and away from bad influences by providing better alternative activities for children with no active or well connected parenting to find such opportunities for them because they are out there. These programs benefit community. They create stage in which youngsters’ sport talents and skills are acquire, develop, and promoted. And when youths showcased those talents and skills to their parents and they community they gain support, courage, and confidence to thrive and excel to chances of playing at schools, national and global arenas. It also creates flat form where schools and local organized sports clubs come to see them. The local and national recruiters go to places like these to watch those who excelled to higher level and want to play for scholarships, money, but yet still represent their communities and the country. These simple sport programs create talent and leadership that can be helpful back home where organized sports barely exist. For instance those with recognizable skills can go back home to institutions like Juba University, John Garang University, Wau University, and other colleges to organize sports activities to support schools development, not other way around. They can also be helpful in high schools to organize and train youngsters to understand importance and potential benefits of sports. It can also allow establishment of strong network and dialogue between diaspora and back home communities, organizations, and the government
How these sport programs will start and work?
These Greater Bor Sport Tournaments, GBST, will start with basketball and soccer leagues. And they will be based on wrestling model of East-Coast Vs. Midwest rivalry and others will have full freedom to choice and move to whatever side of their favors. Other regions, even single state can form their own teams if they feel confident and comfortable to compete independently. And with these extra activities, we are also expanding the office of Youth & Culture to include Sports and Music departments to accommodate this diversity so services are delivered on specialty basses.
This means event organizers of each department, culture, sport, and music working together for better services delivery. Thus we are also reaching out to anyone interested to serve his/her community in these two added departments to contact me via my Facebook page or via any community leader in your area to direct you to the Youth & Cultural Affairs office.
The goal of these expansions, again, is to make Awak De Michigan an inclusive community festival in which everyone, children, youths, and adults have little bit of their prepared activities so no one is left out.
Therefore we are adding these two sport programs:
1. Little League Soccer program, not this year, for all able children of every state that host Awak De Michigan. And the Greater Bor Community’s office of Youth & Culture in collaboration with host state shall provide 50% funds, for simple recognition awards, trophies, and other expenses 4 thereof. The games can be played indoors or outdoors based on weather conditions and parent preferences.
2. Big-league Basketball program for all able teens and young adults from all states and regions that attend Awak De Michigan. Each region or state can choose, form, and train its own teams. These teams are responsible for their uniforms, shoes, and the other needed expenses thereof. And to make this basketball program easy to launch this year we chose to start with two teams: Mid-West and East-Coast, just like wrestling. But unlike Little League Soccer program, the Greater Bor Community’s office of Youth & Culture is responsible for all funds for awards, trophies, finding sport facilities, indoor or outdoor, and other expenses to develop the program forward.
And on Sunday the community system, all adults, youths, and children can celebrate together as usual with church services in the morning, noon, and finish later in the evening at the park with traditional singing and dances.
These sport programs and cultural activities such as dances and wrestling can be useful to our three counties’ developments if used as supporting programs instead of competing opponent. For instance if invited, they can be held in each county’s annual meetings to create festival of divest activities that bring members of other two counties. They can create social connections, friendships, teamwork, and most importantly trust among counties members. And in return this usage will create rapid development of these sports and cultural programs. It will allow them to be held frequently, three times a year with high attendant, generate more fans, and diverse future players. And this working together if achieved here in the diaspora, can be the blueprint to solve similar issues back home. We, the diaspora communities, must be united, trusting and believing in each other, strong, and better off before all else.
By Yuot Mach Thon President of the Greater Bor Community’s Office of the Youth & Cultural Affairs