In this week’s PeacePlayers International – Middle East (PPI-ME) blog post, Noga, a PPI-ME participant and LDP member, writes about the year-opening weekend basketball retreat at Sdot Yam.
This past weekend, PPI-ME players and coaches went to Sdot Yam, a kibbutz close to Haifa, for the first retreat of the year. Retreats enable PPI-ME participants to be with the coaches and with each other for a full weekend, sometime focusing on basketball and leadership, and sometimes meeting with special guests. But in this retreat, we focused on playing basketball in order to prepare for our upcoming league games.
We left Jerusalem on Friday morning and arrived at Sdot Yam at noon, so we went straight to lunch and then had gym and basketball practice. What’s special about these practices is that PPI participants of all ages practice together, so the older kids can help the younger ones. After practice, all of us from the Leadership Development Program (LDP) went to the beach, where we took videos and selfies and just hung out. It’s really nice and fun that we can go to the beach together after practices. I don’t know if other teams do this, it feels special to us. After going to the beach, we ate dinner and spent the rest of the evening on the basketball court.
I really like these retreats because in just one weekend we get to know our teammates and fellow PPI-ME participants so much better. This weekend was particularly special because some of the LDP members had not seen each other for over a month, and we were all so excited and happy to see each other. When we are all together – participants and coaches – we talk about daily life, listen to each other, and help one another. This helps us grow into a real team. It’s important to have this time together because we can get to know each other, and when we play on the court you can see that we are a team.
I had so much fun at the retreat, and can’t wait for the next one to see all my friends and coaches again!