Busy Busy Times for the Crows and Khelo Rugby
by Shreyas Rao
The last three months have been incredibly busy with the Jungle Crows Foundation and we have just now found time to tell you all about what we have been up to here on our Khelo Khelo Blog!
We have the most amazing team working on all our projects, which are really having a huge impact on the children we work with everyday. So it is a very big thank you to the team, but no time to rest as the next three months are going to be even more exciting.
Here goes for a mad dash through June, July, August and even a bit of September………
- Has now expanded in Kolkata to 21 locations with more than 600 children regularly taking part in the programme.
- Sessions got a little chaotic as pressure from the rugby season built up, but now that is over we are getting back to normal and making sure Coaches are keeping up with their coaching timetables.
- The Khelo curriculum is undergoing a re-write as we learn more from our different experiences in all the locations where we work. This is a job that we can see never really ends. We are always learning, each Coach and Community brings a different dynamic, there is no one fits all solution.
- Conducted over three days in September (18, 19 & 20) beginning with a mini-leadership program led by Lovepreet and Akash for 20 Khelo Leaders from our Kolkata communities.
- Day two was a Tag Rugby Festival with the participation of 200 children from 16 different locations. A record participation of sorts! Each Senior Coach was asked to bring 3 teams minimum and they all met the targets. A fun day for all involved and good job by the Khelo Leaders in leading and organizing the event and putting some of the learning from the day before into practice. Our new communities also participated in a festival for the first time.
- Day three was a Cycle Ride organized by Pritam in association with Discover on Wheels for all the children who had received bicycles earlier in the year from Pink Bike.
Lots of ‘proper’ tackle rugby tournaments organised by the Crows, Future Hope and Bengal Rugby saw participation from most of our Academy players. We kicked off with a slightly mediocre performance in the Future Hope Monsoon Cup on a splendid looking #CrowField mind you! But then really picked it up with a top-notch performance in Bengal Rugby’s Under-14 tournament at CCFC where the Jungle Crows emerged Champions beating larger teams like Armenian College, KISS and Future Hope. The girls where not to be left out coming Runner’s Up in both the Women’s 10’s and Touch Rugby tournaments.
Rugby is Great:
One of the highlights of the last three months was the Rugby is Great event which we organized with the British High Commission and KISS in Orissa. Ravi was sent on a one – week assignment to coach the teams and prepare for the tournament – great job by him. We also selected an Under-13 team from Kolkata after conducting our own Tag Rugby ‘qualifier’ tournament.
A 12 member team comprising children from 10 different Kolkata locations set off with coaches Kameliya and Lovepreet in charge. The event was hugely successful with the British High Commissioner Scott giving away the prizes and loads of newspaper coverage. Home team KISS emerged well deserved champions while the Khelo Rugby team were runners-up. The final was pulsating and an excellent display of rugby pre the Rugby World Cup!
Power of Display:
Our event to mark UN Youth Day saw our Khelo coaches taking on a theme and engaging with the children from their communities to come up with posters, art work or displays on those themes. Themes included Environment – Ravi, Child Rights – Kameliya, Khelo/Play – Tiger, School – Akash, Hygiene – Deep and Equal Rights – Lovepreet. Before going into the communities each Coach had to make a presentation on their theme to myself and Paul so we were sure they understood and had researched their topic.
Plenty of guests turned up on the day and the children guided by their Coaches came up with some really interesting and diverse work ensuring the event was a good one.
Jungle Crows Cupcakes from Mrs Magpie were a bonus for the super effort all round!
In Partnership with the American Center:
In August we were invited by the American Center in Kolkata for a film screening about girls participation in sport. This was a good chance to involve many of our girls in a different activity and let them see how other girls around the world enjoy sport just as much as they do.
A total of 8 of our Khelo Leaders have been selected for a Leadership Programme at the American Center. They will go through a 3 month training at the Center on a one class per week format. Post this they get a chance to meet US diplomats, take an internship at the American Center besides other opportunities.
What Have I learnt?
All the coaches were given the task of preparing presentations about their last one year with JCF and all the coaches responded in a very positive way, making presentations and surprising many with their improving grasp of the English language!
Khelo Sporting League:
KSL (Khelo Sporting League) is really doing very well, giving those youngsters who have graduated from Khelo Rugby a new and interesting focus. We moved away from the location teams format we had originally started with and we now play in mixed community teams. Though the players were initially reluctant, the idea has caught on and all the youngsters are responding in a positive way. KSL now has an average turn-out of 100 to 120 youth every month and we ensure that they all have the chance to learn something new every time!Media:
Khelo Rugby and Jungle Crows has received plenty of media attention over the last one year – founder Paul being featured in Amazing Indians show of Times Now, we were on BBC World TV, on the Award Winning Scrumqueens site, and articles published at Sportskeeda.
And there is more, much more that has made lots of people smile and will keep them smiling into the future. We have only just begun……