This week’s blog is by PPI – ME’s International Fellow, Courtney Douglass, with her impressions from the All-Star weekend retreat, joined with wishes for a great holiday season!
I hope everyone is having a festive holiday season! In Israel the major holiday that we recently finished celebrating is Hanukkah. Because most people usually have a little break from school and other activities, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to bring our 14-and-under and 16-and-under Tamra/Nahariya Mixed All-Star teams from the North together for a fun retreat. Our crew – consisting of players, coaches, managers, and fellows – arrived Friday afternoon and stayed overnight at our favorite retreat spot in Caesarea, Israel. The weekend was filled with learning, laughter, food, and lots of basketball.
“This retreat was a great chance for our team to come together during our season to refocus on our goals and team togetherness. It came at a great time for us because we have a really big game coming up and we need everyone to be on the same page to win the game,” (Chen S. 15, Nahariya).
The 16-and-under coach Dor Dayan agreed that the retreat came at a great time for their team:
“At this point in the season the girls need a break from the typical practices and games, and this really gave us a chance to do some real team bonding and evaluate where we want to be at the end of the season. In the two days at the retreat we were able to accomplish so much and you could tell how much the girls really enjoyed the quality time with one another.”
Retreats are a great opportunity to not only play lots of basketball and better the teams’ skills, but to improve team building skills off the court as well. Githa Cohen, our Project Manager in Northern Israel, led fun and engaging team building sessions that reinforced the importance of positive body language and demonstrated how every single person on the team plays a vital role in its success.
I am also extremely happy to report that Tuesday after the retreat, the 16-and-under All-Stars won their very important game by over twenty points! Clearly this retreat had a huge impact on the girls and hopefully this success will continue throughout the rest of the season.