This past August, the boys and girls varsity soccer teams went on a weeklong trip to Tobago. While both teams were continuing preseason training during that week, the trip’s other main component was service. We held a soccer clinic for the youth, attracting kids from 5 to 17 years old. In addition to coaching, we donated cleats, jerseys, balls, shin guards, and water bottles when the session was over. This was definitely the most memorable part of the trip.
This year, I spent service day with most of my grade sorting out medical supplies that would be exported to people who were in need. We sorted out as many supplies as possible, as well as being extra careful with the process of separating the goods with expiration dates too soon to be allowed to be sent. One of the main takeaways from this experience was how impactful our few hours’ work would be to many lives. Since there were so many of us working, we were able to help the organization finish a day or two-day’s worth of work on their own. Although the individual task was not overwhelming, the group’s production was very high due to the collectiveness of the work and the great cooperativeness of my classmates. This experience opened me up to the service of those in medical need, something I will seek to continue doing in the future. Likewise, service day allowed for an increased chemistry between my classmates and helped me experience collective work at a grand scale. It was wonderful to see all my classmates and I efficiently working together to help those in need by speeding up the process prior to the exportation.
The Sunday following pre-season soccer camp, the Boys Varsity soccer team went on a week long trip to Tobago, home nation to Coach Warren Salandy and former Coach Sherwin O’Neil. We stayed at the famed Coco Reef hotel. This beautiful resort consisted of a warm, biologically-rich beach where we would spend much of our free time in, whether it be swimming, chilling, or snorkeling. Snorkeling was remarkable, as I was able to see a wide variety of species of fish as well as the occasional squid.
We trained at a couple of different fields, each not more than a 20 minute drive from the hotel. One thing that struck me was the intense humidity, an environment I was not used to.
The biggest takeaway experience from this trip was doing the clinic with the kids of Tobago. We had two clinics, one with Warren and Sherwin’s old soccer academy and the other with the school they went to. It was very fun working with these kids, who were passionate to get better, and run drills with them that we ran at our own practices. It was fun to see the smile on their faces at the end of the clinics, when they picked out a pair of cleats out of the vast collection we had gathered back home and brought to Tobago.
Overall, it was a very fun experience. As a sophomore, I would be ecstatic to repeat this trip next summer.
Throughout the course of the YPI project, I have become more aware and engaged towards this social issue. This project has allowed me to stop ignoring our society’s issues and instead try to resolve them. I now hope to make an impact in stopping this issue. Over the course of the project, I have improved my public speaking skills, my efficiency, and commitment to practicing. These are all key aspects that will greatly help me on other projects later on. In addition, I have strengthened my ability to work as a group. At first, the public speaking aspect was the most challenging. But over the course of the project, it has become the most rewarding since I can benefit from my experience.