September’s Teen Club focused on the importance of taking responsibility for your own actions. This concept is not easy for anyone regardless of age but can be especially difficult for those enduring adolescence. Throughout childhood, our parents and caregivers are more or less responsible for what we do. It is in the transitional adolescence period where we begin to realize that we cannot pass unto others the blame for our own choices– we must be held accountable for all that we do. Still, not a day goes by without news coverage about a politician deflecting a poor decision or without a professional athlete arguing a foul called against him. It was with this in mind that Teen Club set out to develop a better understanding of what it means to be responsible for your own actions.
The day began differently than most Teen Clubs do; instead of separating into age groups the Teens were given options and encouraged to choose the activity in which they wanted to participate. Some of the Teens set to work on creating dramas about responsibility. Theses skits were entertaining and thought-provoking. Teens acted out football games and social situations all of which ended in someone having to take responsibility and face a consequence. After each performance the group discussed who needed to admit to wrongdoing and how that character could best handle himself in the future.
As the aspiring thespians illustrated the day’s theme through skits, some of their peers took to the pitch to explore how sports can transcend cultures and teach participants a multitude of life skills.
Although football is arguably the most popular sport among the Teen Club members, Teens were excited to learn a new sport: Ultimate. Ultimate is a game played with a Frisbee-style disc and can be described as a combination of American football, football (American soccer) and netball. In addition to having a blast learning to throw and catch the discs, Teens learned about the “Spirit of the Game.” Ultimate is played without any officials calling fouls; as a matter of fact, all fouls must be called by the player committing the wrong (this is in stark contrast with the contentious griping of footballers arguing almost every call made by officials). It is this aspect of the game that makes Ultimate the ideal sport to teach personal accountability. It was incredibly fortunate that University of Illinois Ultimate team, Prion, was willing to sponsor the day, donating discs to some of the Teens so that they may continue practicing. A special thank you must be offered to Prion and Pavan Sarguru for organizing the fundraising tournament and bringing Ultimate to the Teens of Botswana.
Personally, this was a special Teen Club for this author. After working with the Botswana Teen Club for a year, September’s Teen Club was my last (for now…). Every aspect of my time with Botswana Teen Club, from the people I worked with daily to the time I had interacting with the Teens, was life changing. As cliché as it sounds, it’s true when I say words cannot describe how impressed I am by Teen Club members and especially the Teen Leaders, both current and past. I wish everyone the best of luck in their continued pursuit of excellence with Botswana Teen Club. I will miss you all dearly. Even you, Silk.”