Being a dedicated marathon runner, sport in general and running in particular have helped me to establish contact with people in most of the places where I have been, and to bring me to many of these places. In fact, I have always been inspired by the power of sport in connecting people, raising self esteem and building resilience of vulnerable groups and individuals. One of the most beautiful experiences I have had was my work in 2010 and 2011 as a coach of a group of distance athletes that represented Laos in different international events. This was a wonderful experience to know more about Laotians and their culture. Read here posts about this experience. Besides this, I took part in the Team Dai Challenge, a bike trip of 400km in 3 days with over 2000m elevation. The Riders were 30 local cyclists aged 16 to 60ish, and from over 10 countries (including Laos). Our reason was to raise funds and awareness for 3 great causes in Laos. Read here more about this initiative.
In the past I have been responsible for developing and conducting special Sports and Games programs for regular and special schools in the Netherlands and Spain. For the Dutch sports and development NGO Todos I worked as an events coordinator. Among other things, I was responsible for coaching volunteers during project implementation.
At this moment I live in Darwin (Australia), where I work as a development officer of Athletics Northern Territory. Of course Australia is not what many would denominate a ‘developing country’. But given the relative low amount of people doing athletics in the territory, and the isolation in which many rural communities live in this part of the world, this job has many similitude with the jobs I have had in the past. And at the end of the day, sport is one of the most powerful tools to boost personal and community development!
The Athletics NT Development Programme aims to provide athletes from entry level to the age of 23 with the tools they need to advance their outcomes and realize their aspirations in athletics. Two key pillars form the backbone of Athletics NT’s Programme:
- Athletics Play and Active After School Activities designed to teach of the skills of running, jumping and throwing through organised play and game based experiences and aiming to bring excitement into playing athletics.
- The Development and Academy Squads, which are designed to recognise and select athletes with talent and potential in the sport and to support them and their coaches in their future development in athletics by organizing activities that include specific coaching clinics, workshops, training camps and assistance in the participation at Athletic events such as Australian All School Track & Field Championships, Australian Junior Track & Field Championships and Australian under 23 Track & Field Championships.
Personally my main motivation in this job is that kids and youngsters enjoy athletics and that it contributes positively to their personal development.
If you have any ideas to support any of the above, or just want to hear more about it, please do not hesitate to contact me!
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