Warriors Education in Martinique 2017

Warriors Education in Martinique 2017

Students and teachers from the Warriors Performance and Education Academy have just touched down on the Caribbean Island of Martinique.

During this two week project, Warriors Education students will participate and lead sports coaching sessions within local schools and general community groups.

The Project is in partnership with ‘Everything is Possible’, an international organisation that provide funded work experience worldwide for young people and adults.

DAY 1

Warriors students have spent their first day settling into new surroundings with a walk around the town of Le Robert. First project session is later on this evening, the group will attend football training sessions at the Stade de Trenelle Riviere Salle!

We will be posting more website stories on the Warriors Education journey in Martinique. Also, you can keep up to date by following @WarriorsEd on Twitter.

DAY 2

Warriors Education students have been out and about meeting the local people on the island of Martinique. Chatting away, learning about how the indigenous people live.

Today they met ‘Gee’, who has lived on the island for 50+ years, with a break of 5 years when Gee lived in central London. A very welcoming, warm gentleman who seemed genuinely happy to speak with the students outside his home.

During a visit in the afternoon to the town of Le Robert, the students made full use of a multi sports pitch down by the harbour! A snap game of ‘Touch Rugby League’ started between students and staff.

An excellent and fun way to progress through day 2 ‘The Wigan Way!

Day 3

Warriors education students have had a very eventful couple of days! They received an invitation from ‘Youth in the Town’, our partners on the island, to a local derby match between two of the best teams. The students were able to experience a real carnival atmosphere in the stands, with the band playing drums, trumpets and maracas with the fans singing along for the entire 90 minutes.

Day 4

Warriors education students have settled in really well and appear to have acclimatised to the temperature, 30+ degrees! Rather different from what they are used to back home in Wigan. The students so far have been an absolute credit to the Warriors Performance and Education Academy.

Today has been a wonderful experience for the students as today was all about ‘Intercultural Sharing’. For a full afternoon, Warriors students took part in a session run by ‘Youth in the Town’, interacting with French speaking students of similar age, who attend local colleges in Martinique. Some of the French speaking students could also speak a little English, supporting two way communication in group work activities and fun games. Warriors students expressed their thoughts about how they feel about living in the UK, our British traditions and yes ‘Wigan Pies’ got a well-deserved and proud mention!

The students from Martinique talked about their culture, their college, what they like to eat, how they feel and what they understand about the UK. Many questions flowed between the two groups and a real sense of interest and genuine knowledge finding was evident.

Later that afternoon on the front playing area, the Warriors students ran some practical coaching drills for all students and staff to participate in. Fun based passing and moving drills, around the circle, brought fun and laughter from all students. The students from Martinique appeared to really enjoy the session, especially when a forfeits for dropping the ball were introduced!

What a brilliant way of bringing two very different groups together, from opposite sides of the world to demonstrate that with positive minds and a sense of warmth, there are no barriers to friendship.

Day 5

Warriors Performance and Education students have had a great day at the ‘Centre Nautique De Merine’ – Water Sports centre’ located within a 10 minute drive from our residence. The students took part in a range of activities, starting with ‘Kayaking’ and a thorough demonstration of technique and safety from the centre professional.

Students then moved on to a new activity for all called ‘Paddle Boarding’. Students had to stand upright on what can be described as the base of a surfboard and alternate strokes to either side use one paddle. An activity that certainly tested levels of balance, core strength and persistence! The last activity of the day was ‘Sailing’ in a 3 / 4 person boat, initially led by instructors from the centre so students could would and learn before taking control for themselves.

The general feeling from the group was that this has been a great experience for all and something they will look forward to going again next week.

On the way home we stopped off to check out the ‘street food vendors’. Throughout the various towns around Martinique, you find numerous street stalls with local people making their living selling either chicken & ribs in local sauces, cooked in large steel BBQ Drums or fruits such as melon and bananas. Today the students and staff opted for a selection of beautifully cooked chicken and ribs.

Day 6

Today we took in some Martinique history with a guided tour of ‘La Savane des Esclaves’, translates into English as ‘The Savannah of the Slaves. Located in the resort town of ‘Trois Ilets’, the two hectare open-air museum, created and operated by Mr Gilbert Larose, replicates a post-slavery native village and farm with traditional houses built of palisades wood with beaten earth floors and cane-leaf roofs.
Students and staff were given a guided tour around the grounds of the museum by Emilie, our Youth in the Town host representative, who fortunately for us, worked at this museum prior to taking up her current role. The tour took our group around various garden paths, stopping at small houses for a look inside to see how the slave families lived, the clothes they wore and the few household items they were allowed to possess. Our group were informed about how the indigenous people of Martinique were enslaved, how they were treated and the life they lived until slavery was abolished.

The students got to meet Mr Gilbert Larose and hear that he created ‘La Savane des Esclaves’ so that we have a living museum to “testify, teach and preserve the heritage of Martinique.”

Day 7

Our staff and students have spent the day site seeing around La Trinite, a coastal town up on the north east of the island. After a short 20 minute drive from our house in Le Robert, our group were able to stretch their legs with a walk around the local shops and harbor. The walk included Le Trinite Town Market, a place local people bring their harvest to sell to the public, trade with other locals and generally earn their living.
Along the way, our group stopped at a market stall where local college students had set up to sell second hand goods to passers-by. Their aim was to raise enough money to pay for their group trip to Puerto Rico!

Of course our group stopped and purchased some items such as a toaster for our house, a recorder flute instrument and a childs life jacket! We wished them the very best of luck with their fund raising and a great trip should they reach their target amount.

Our group went for a leisurely stroll along Le Trinite harbour and out onto the jetty that stretched far into the sea for a look back on the beautiful coastline. They then moved onto the beach before heading back to the mini buses for a trip back home to Le Robert.

On our travel back, we stopped at the local supermarket where students were tasked with collecting and purchasing the food and ingredients for the group evening meal.

One of the aims of this project is for students to become a little more independent, so taking on the responsibility to move around the supermarket to pick out the food types required for our evening meal was for some, a new experience but one they coped with well.

Day 8

Project activity morning for the group, supporting a ‘Cycling Session’ with lead instructor on the island ‘Fred’. An early start, everyone up for 6am breakfast, we set off at 7am to ensure we arrived at the location for 8am. Today was particularly sunny and very warm so caps and sun creams were very much needed!

The session participants were local primary school children, who attend weekly activities with instructor Fred and his assistant Kevin. They learn the basics around riding a bike unassisted, following a set track on grassland, in and out of coned areas, then across some more challenging, small hill terrain. The Warriors students were given a warm welcome and induction into the morning activities, provided with a role each to stand at points around the track to support the children as they passed during each lap. The interaction between our students and the Martinique primary school children was a joy to watch, although an obvious language barrier for most of the session, the students and primary children developed a swift bond with special ‘Martinique Hand Shakes’, smiles, laughter and conversed with basics such as ‘bonjour` ‘Hello’ ‘Allez Allez’ Go Go Go’!!

A special mention goes to student Dylan Brown, currently studying on our Level 2 Sports Coaching course. After instructor Fred asked ‘who would like to take over and run the session?’, Dylan stepped up to take over and lead part two activties! Using basic French words to relay instructions to the children, Dylan showed courage and confidence to lead a good session and control the group in a professional manner.
Dylan received positive feedback from Fred and with that, collected sufficient assessment evidence towards his final course observation. Well Done Dylan!

Primary School Cycling, as a ‘session activity’, was a new experience for our students, but one they have all gained new skills and self-confidence from. Our whole group performed in a professional manner and were a credit to not just themselves but to the Warriors Performance and Education Academy in general. So much so that Fred asked if we could come back next week and help out again! Unfortunately not Fred!.

DAY 9

Another glorious morning in Martinique! The views from the wrap around balcony of our residence are very special indeed.

Our group had a morning and afternoon off due to an evening session we attended at a local outdoor sports facility. So with this we decided to have a drive to a beach on the south west coast of the island.

Some of the group relaxed on the beach whilst others had a swim and snorkel in the sea. Whilst snorkeling, we were lucky enough to be joined by a large turtle swimming close to the shore line. This was an amazing experience for all staff and students who had the opportunity to swim alongside for well over an hour before the turtle left for deeper water.

Once again, this particular experience today is a key aspect of why a project such as ‘Moving Feet Opening Minds’ is so important to help young people develop, grow and ultimately enrich their lives.

The project through ‘Everything is Possible’ (http://www.everythingispossible.eu/) provides some wonderful opportunities and life long memories for anyone who participates in a project such as this in Martinique.

So this evening we attended a local sports facility, about a 10 minute drive from our residence. Our staff and students took part in and led a coaching and games session for a Womens Rugby Union team.

We were kindly invited by the teams full time coach Richard, who welcomed us all and allowed our group into his club. Some quick passing and moving drills were put on by our staff coaches, with the students supporting in certain positions.

The training session led into a mini tag rugby game for the final part of the evening! Martinique Womens Team v Wigan Warriors Education Team! It was a good, committed game and WE WON! As we have done for all project activities so far. We presented Coach Richard and the team with 5 Sky Try Rugby League Balls for the club to keep and use in future training sessions. A massive thank you to Coach Richard and all the players for their hospitality, warmth and enthusiasm towards our staff and students.

Day 10

Today we were based at the Martinique Institute for Sport for another ‘Education Day’, allowing the students to continue with their studies albeit thousands of miles away from Wigan!

The Martinique Institute for Sport is a purpose built facility to accommodate the very best sportspersons the island and surrounding islands can offer. The sports facilities include a large indoor / outdoor sports hall for football, basketball, badminton etc. An outdoor multi-sports playing area for volley ball, net ball, hand ball. Also indoor facilities such as a Martial Arts Dojo, Gymnastics arena, plus boxing and ballet areas. A really top quality facility. With the temperatures outside above 30 degrees, our staff and students were happy to know that we also had use of the fully air conditioned classrooms!

On the way home after a long day with heads in the books, we stopped off at a local beach to cool off. Pleasantly surprise to see there was ‘black volcanic sand’, making a change from the golden sands we have been used to. One thing is for sure, you will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful sunset anywhere in the world than what we witnessed here today.

Day 11

Today on our morning travels up and along the coastal road, we stopped off to take some photos of the incredible views! Martinique is such a beautiful island.

Our students have spent the morning delivering some rugby coaching drills to local school children. Welcomed by Coach Bolo, a real character and leading man in for Rugby in Martinique. Our students were given the opportunity to lead on some passing drills and fun games.

There was certainly a positive and enriching vibe between the groups, with plenty of laughter and enjoyment for the children. Some of our students are studying to becoming qualified Level 2 Sports Coaches, with aspirations of progressing and working within this sector once the leave our Performance and Education Academy in July 2017. The activity sessions today, with different students/coaches leading various skills and games sessions, will go a long way to boosting their overall qualities as a coach.

Once our coaching day was over, we traveled back to our residence for our evening meal and a movie night! A well earned rest is in order for all.

Day 12

A bit of downtime this morning so we got right into a game of Five a Side Football at the Institute of Sport! Playing football in the Martinique sunshine led to many water breaks! All great competitive fun and let’s just say the match ended in a draw!

In the evening, our group traveled into the town of Les Trois-Ilets on the south east coast, for some sightseeing and to find a place for our evening meal.

Les Trois-Ilets is an affluent area of the island that hosts many of the tourists, who stop off during their cruise around the Caribbean islands. After a stroll around the town and down onto the beach area, the group walked back towards the small town centre to find a place to eat. We all decided upon the best restaurant within our budget and enjoyed some great food, with a lovely view of the sail boats moored in Les Trois-Ilets Harbour adding to our evening.

Day 13

So this morning we joined Coach Richard and his womens rugby team for a Training Session on the beach!
An amazing place for our group to train, with beautiful weather as we have come to expect and the view from the beach of the Martinique coastline, as spectacular as ever.

Our group started off with a game of ‘pass-clap-catch’ with forfeits for dropping the ball of course! Plenty of fun and laughter, a good way of creating a positive vibe. Coach Richard took over the session and our group joined in various drills of possession, with two teams attacking and defending set areas, finishing with some speed/agility sprints on the sand.

Once again we were made to feel very welcome, coach Richard mixing up the teams so that our staff and students played alongside the Martinique players helped build good bonds and enhanced the session overall.

The rugby skills session on the sand lasted about 60 minutes, followed by a 30 minute drill of passing and possession in the sea! A brilliant way to cool off mixed with a tough work out in the water!

Later in the afternoon our group went for a stroll around a nature reserve, located on the north east coast of the island. Staff and students could roam round and take some time for themselves in what has been a busy and tiring two weeks. Some most likely reflecting on their amazing experience so far in Martinique.

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