Stedman Gas of the Blitzbokke joins CoolPlay as an Ambassador

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Gans, our first official rugby Ambassador, joined the South Africa Sevens' Academy at the end of 2016, and played for the team at the 2016 Dubai Sevens. In February 2017, he was named as an official reserve for the national sevens team for the 2017 USA Sevens tournament and a week later he was promoted to the main squad for the 2017 Canada Sevens in Vancouver.

Stedman is passionate about changing lives through sport and says "I firmly believe that sport has the power to change lives. I also believe in responsibility towards our immeadiate surroundings. And that responsibility is not only to not do bad but to do good when presented with the possibility. Live your best life!' We are so thankful that Stedman is choosing to do good with us!

He has a bright future ahead of him and we look forward to following him on his rugby journey! He recorded a special message for CoolPlay, which you can see here!

Champion Profile: Nokulunga Mvandaba

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This month we would like to highlight Nokulunga as our Champion of the Month. Since joining CoolPlay this year she has worked tirelessly to come up with creative ideas to support her two netball squads. These ideas have included getting the girls to do vision boards and giving the girls various responsibilities on their respective teams. Most recently, Nokulunga has taken it upon herself to head up a weekly tutoring session on Saturdays to get the girls up to speed on their school work. 

It has been such a pleasure to see Nokulunga's interactions with her teams on and off the netball court. Well done and keep up the hard work!

CoolPlay Mother | Daughter Netball Clinic 24 March 2018

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A fantastic morning of CoolPlay games and drills with a twist was held on the 24th of March at Sarepta Primary School. It was a special day for many of the girls as their mothers also participated in the coaching drills, fun and games. The mothers got to experience first-hand the life lessons CoolPlay imparts onto their daughters and understand that there is more to a CoolPlay netball session than just being taught how to play the sport.

The afternoons proceedings started off with a short address by Mr Solomons (Headmaster of Sarepta) and CoolPlay Area Manager Luqman. Both placed emphasis on the life skills the girls are learning through participating in CoolPlay sessions. They encouraged the mums to get involved and enjoy the sessions that were being conducted.

There were four different stations; the first involved team work, the second avoiding conflict, the next one communication and the last touched on being resilient. Coach Luqman and Coach Damion also got involved, showing off their netball skills too!  Finally, the day’s proceedings ended with some very evenly and tightly contested netball matches. The group was divided into three teams that had a mixture of girls, mums and coaches! We could definitely see where some of the girls get their competitiveness from.

The matches though competitive were played in a good spirit and good sportsmanship was on display. It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon where everyone involved learnt something new, whether it was a life skill they could use in the future or a netball skill! A big thank-you to our CoolPlay Champion Robynne for organising and running a very successful clinic. We look forward to running similar clinics in the future!

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Headmaster Profile: Raj Naidoo, Masibambane High School

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What difference has CoolPlay made to your school?

CoolPlay came to our school when we were experiencing serious problems with gang fighting. We made a decision to employee coaches for netball, soccer and rugby to try and counteract the scourge of gangsterism. However, we could only afford to pay these coaches a nominal salary. These coaches were also not trained coaches but rather ordinary individuals who were unemployed and very passionate about sport. CoolPlay stepped in and offered training for these coaches in sport and the teaching of life-skills through sport, and this was especially valuable since our objective with the after school programme was to effect a change in behaviour. 

What effect has CoolPlay coaching had on kids in the classroom?

The most important thing about CoolPlay is its' emphasis on combining sports coaching with life-skills training. Learners are constantly being told the meaning of good discipline, commitment and values such as respect. This has resulted in learners changing not only their behaviour but also their attitude to educators, non-teaching staff and their school mates. 

What other benefits are there of an after school program like CoolPlay?

People may sometimes see sport and the academic programme of the school as two completely different entities, however this is utterly wrong as the skills used on the sports field such as listening, anticipation, momentum, effective communication and the values such as commitment and dedication are the very same skills and values required to succeed in the academic programme. 


What would you say to other school Headmasters on adopting CoolPlay?

Under-performing schools focus a lot of energy on the academic programme and are able to take their matric pass results into the seventies and eighties. They then reach a plateau and struggle to rise further. It is adopting a programme such as CoolPlay which helps effect behavioural change, attitudinal change and the successes the learners enjoy on the field helps build their confidence which translates into them having a positive self image which ultimately helps them improve in the classroom. 

CoolPlay's Hong Kong Tour Diary

CoolPlay were invited to the Hong Kong Sevens as part of a organisational exchange by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. 12 lucky boys were selected from the nearly 700 we work with on a weekly basis for the trip of a lifetime. Here is how it went for them!

Monday – The team met at the airport and said their goodbyes for the long haul flight from CPT-Dubai-HK. 16 hours of flying.. and very little sleep!

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Tuesday – Arrived in HK. Bus to hotel then straight out to the Hong Kong Police Club for supper with Operation Breakthrough and their founder Steve. The boys mingled over a fancy Chinese banquet which wasn't to everyones' taste! New friends were made, and we exchanged club shirts.

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Wednesday – Went to Kow Loon rugby stadium for the KowLoon Rugby Festival. Watched the All Blacks training, and had a session with the Blitzbokke ladies team. The boys performed the CoolPlay Haka for the first time and met the SA 7’s team. The boys played an exhibition game in the afternoon with Operation Breakthrough and a similar team to ours from ICEF in the USA. Back to the hotel then to the SA Society dinner. CoolPlay and our dream team were spoken highly of and the boys got on stage with the Blitzbokke team. Humbling speech by Morne Du Plessis, Jean De Villiers with John Smit as the keynote speaker providing much amusement.

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Thursday – Our team played in a 7’s tournament. Denis and Scott headed to a workshop with PeacePlayers. Scott presented to a packed room then on to a lunch hosted by HKRFU with panel consisting of Morne, Jean De Villiers, Sean Fitzpatrick and Mils Muliania. JDV and Morne rush back to catch the boys in the tournament and JDV gives a passionate half time team talk to our boys inspiring their efforts. Consul General of SA stayed and watched the boys final friendly game as did Morne, Jean and Brett from Laureus. Tired boys and staff finish the day with supper at McDonalds.

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Friday – Visit the SA Consulate as guests of honour. Made to feel very welcome with Dan Nicoll leading the speeches. Further moving speeches by Morne and Consul General. Following by off day: an Amazing Race through HK including the Star Ferry, bus rides, escalators, and shopping. Back to the hotel knackered!

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Saturday – early start to get to stadium for the HK Sevens press conference. Watched the 7’s all day from an executive box provided by Laureus. Walk on the field behind big band.and meet lots of ‘VIP's included Steve Waugh, Brian O’Driscoll, John Smit, and the boys favourite, the great Fijian Waisale Serevi. The boys head to market in evening for last minute gift buying.

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Sunday – Head to 7’s to catch the Blitzbokke in the quarters, wonderful day watching the finals (despite the result) Head to the airport late, where reluctantly we board a flight back to Cape Town. Spirits are high and camaraderie couldn't be better.  Arrive in Cape Town at 4,30 on Monday

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Champion Profile: GJ Venter

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GJ is a former businessman who traded in his office in Johannesburg for a more hands on position in Bredasdorp, shaping the future of the youth of South Africa.

GJ has a huge passion for sports. Back in his school days GJ was a keen sportsman playing cricket, golf and soccer. GJ explains, however, that  it was rugby that taught him some of his most important life lessons; rugby helped him build the solid foundations that have made him into the man he is today. That man is a loving and supportive husband as well as a new father. GJ and his wife welcomed the birth of their first child in February this year. Congratulations GJ. Family is very important to GJ, and he credits his wife for helping him become a better man as well as encouraging him to share his passion for sports and his life experiences with those around him who are not so fortunate.

After hearing about CoolPlay through Education Connection, GJ found out that being a CoolPlay Champion is more than just being a coach, its being a mentor, friend and father to the children, “CoolPlay sessions not only impact the children that participate in them but also the larger community. The CoolPlay children share the life skills they have with those in their community. Each CoolPlay session you oversee, you get to see the child involved with it grow and develop it is amazing to see the difference you are making on that child’s life.Further, CoolPlay not only impacts the children’s lives but also the lives of the CoolPlay champions.” GJ vindicates this as he says CoolPlay has given him a new perspective on life and highlighted to him what is truly important. “CoolPlay is a fantastic program and it gives children the platform to play the sports they love as well as learn invaluable life lessons”.