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[edit] Introduction

Welcome to our Unity Games information/resource page! We hope the following information aids you in developing and implementing your own Unity Games event.

[edit] What is Unity Games

Unity Games is an event held by the community in order to highlight the skills of youth within that community, as well as to provide an opportunity for youth to develop and learn new skills that will have a positive effect in all areas of their lives.

The purpose and philosophy of Unity Games is to use sport, physical activity, challenges and creativity to teach the participants important and transferable life skills. Examples of these life skills include, but are not limited to, communication, cooperation, respect, inclusion, development of relationships and self awareness skills.

The event provides a unique opportunity for youth to come together from all over the region, city, province, or in some cases, country to participate in a fun-filled, activity based event. The youth that do participate have the chance to collaborate with peers from other schools and neighbourhoods that they otherwise may have never had the chance to meet or interact with. We, as organizers and volunteers of the event strive to provide a new and exciting learning experience for the youth of our community.

2005 was the International Year of Sport and Physical Education. During this year, the United Nations identified sport and physical education as a vehicle to improve education, health and peace. We truly believe that The Unity Games is an event that can be used to achieve the UN’s visions. The Unity Games is an excellent event to implement for youth of any region, as children benefit from this form of learning. We are extremely passionate and confident about the fact that physical activity is an effective way to teach life skills to youth of all ages.

For more information, view this clip from the 2012 Niagara Unity Games:

[edit] People Involved

An event such as Unity Games would not be possible without the enthusiastic participation of volunteers, organizers and most importantly, participants. Like any event, it is beneficial to have a team working together to achieve the intended goal of Unity Games. An organizing committee, volunteers to run the stations and be team leaders will all be needed for the successful implementation of the event.

Specific to the events that have taken place in the past, we have been fortunate enough to have many organizations and volunteers help us. In El Salvador, students and educators at Universidad Pedagogica have been vital in organizing and running the event over the past five years. The Niagara Unity Games in 2010 consisted of partners and volunteers from Youth University at Brock, the YMCA, RAFT (Resource Association for Teens), United Way and Brock University students. For the event taking place in May of 2011, we are excited to have partnered with Jumpstart of Canadian Tire. The 2012 Niagara Unity Games was fortunate to have the help of many organizations such as RAFT, YMCA of Niagara, Youth University, United Way,PPSI, NPCC and Student Life & Community Experience.

[edit] Importance of Inclusion

The Unity Games Events are designed to be inclusive to children and youth of all abilities and backgrounds. The events pride themselves on their involvement within the community and strive to involve as many people as possible. In preparation for an event we travel around to After School Groups where we recruit the children and youth (10 individuals from each group) who participate and get them excited about the event. Within this year’s Niagara event we have been lucky enough to also involve 15 children/youth from the Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre (NPCC).

[edit] NPCC Involvement

NPCC is rehabilitation centre that services children and teens with physical and communication disabilities and special needs. Like the After School Programs we also visit NPCC to prepare participants. However, we decided it was important to visit NPCC more than once to ensure that all of the potential participants as well as the staff had the opportunity to learn about Unity Games and become comfortable with the activities they would be participating in. This time spent at NPCC is also very beneficial for us because it provides us with an opportunity to get to know the children and their needs so that we are able to adapt activities to allow everyone to be successful.

[edit] Activity Development

Niagara 2010 Event Activity
Niagara 2010 Event Activity

Each activity of Unity Games is developed with specific life skills in mind. These activities are used as tools to foster the development of life skills and promote inclusion. All are made with the intention to be modified and adapted by facilitators in order to ensure developmentally appropriate skills for the participant population.

We created each activity being used at the 2011 Jumpstart Games. In order to do this, we examined the equipment provided by Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Foundation and based our activities around them. We received inspiration from the Jumpstart activity booklet, past experiences in other Unity Games as well as activities learned in our Physical Education classes.

The 2012 Unity Games activities were created around an environmental theme. To do so we thought of relevant environmental issues that the children were familiar with and could cooperatively work together and use problem solving skills at each station. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of their impact on the environment and innovative personal contributions towards going green.

[edit] Link to Life Skills

Unity Games is a healthy active living initiative using physical activity to foster the development of life skills. Each activity is used as a vehicle to drive the learning of life skills.

The 2011 Jumpstart Games is focusing on teaching life skills such as:

  • Respect
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Goals
  • Fair Play
  • Self Esteem
  • Inclusion
  • Patience
  • Integrity

The 2012 Unity Games is focusing on teaching life skills such as:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Goal Setting
  • Effort
  • Patience
  • Critical Thinking
  • Respect for Nature
  • Creativity
  • Relationships With Others
  • Cooperation
  • Self-Awareness
  • Evaluating & Honesty
  • Respect For Others

Our activities have one of these specific life skills attached to them. The facilitation of the activity drives home the target lesson of each activity. Each activity is taught through quick instruction, play time and a debriefing session. The debriefing session is where the participants make connections to the activity and the life skills being taught.

[edit] Rationale Behind Activities

Every activity of any Unity Games is chosen with the intention to be modified, adapted and facilitated in order to teach the life skills and promote inclusion. Unity Games is a community wide event run by volunteers and students for children of all ages and abilities. Through each modification the activities can be arranged to be ensure the developmental appropriateness for the children. Unity Games activities are new activities developed by organizers of Unity Games. Due to their originality and low organization game category little traditional sport skill is required. These games foster the development of new skills, placing all participants on an equal playing field. The development of these new skills provides an opportunity for the participants to become more physically literate. This also allows for the focus to deter from competition and place the emphasis on the life skills being taught.

[edit] Activity Lesson Plans

The link below will redirect you to the Unity Games website activity resource page. Here you will find the lesson plans for the activities being used in the 2011 Jumpstart Games.

Unity Games Activity Resource

[edit] Training the Trainer

Training the Trainer is the training event for all of the Unity Games station leaders. In the particular case of the 2010 Niagara Unity Games and the 2011 Jumpstart Unity Games the station leaders are those students enrolled in the PEKN 4F32 class travelling to El Salvador. As organizers of the Unity Games we train them on how to play the games, the life skills associated with each activity and how to facilitate a debrief at the end of each activity.

[edit] Afterschool Programs

The station leaders, or students travelling to El Salvador, in groups of three or four, travel around the Niagara region to After School programs sponsored by the RAFT. Here, the students were required to teach one of the Unity Games activities to the participants of the After School program and facilitate the debrief. Each group was assigned two life skills in which they were required to make flags with the children. These flags will be used at Unity Games to identify each team. These after school programs are an important step in the training process for two reasons:

  1. It provides the station leaders a chance to facilitate an activity debrief in order to promote the life skills. This is a new skill for most of the leaders, as they too are students, and the more practice they can get, the better and more natural they will become.
  2. The children that attend the afterschool programs are the children that will be coming to Unity Games. This provides the station leaders an opportunity to get to know the population they will be working with and can start to build relationships the children.

[edit] Event Roles & Responsibility

Station Leaders: Responsible for running stations. There will be two people at each station and they will remain at the station for the whole duration of the Unity Games event. It is their responsibility to instruct the game, facilitate the game, run the debrief and promote the life skill assigned with each game.

Team Leaders: Responsible for guiding their team from each station and through the Unity Games location. Each team consists of 10 children, and there will be travel from lecture halls, to the gym and in between the indoor and outdoor facilities at Brock University. They are also required to escort the children to the washroom, water fountain, etc.

Administration: Responsible for registering each student, providing them with their t-shirt and directing them where to go. These volunteers are behind the scenes people with great organizational skills. They are also responsible for organizing lunch, and swag bag hand outs. There may be other miscellaneous tasks that may come up and will be assigned to the administration people by the Unity Games committee.

Transportation: The children arrive on school busses, volunteers associated with transportation travel with the students on busses to the various after school pick up locations and to the Unity Games location.

Media: Photography and video are taken at each Unity Games in order to document the event, published in news papers, used in further projects or on the Unity Games website.

[edit] Past Experience with Unity Games

British Virgin Islands Event
British Virgin Islands Event

[edit] Past Events

The Unity Games were developed by Dr. James Mandigo, an associate professor at Brock University. He constructed the idea as part of an internship with Brock University students in the British Virgin Islands. Since they were first implemented in BVI, they have continued to grow. Through a strong connection with physical education colleagues in El Salvador, the games have been employed there over the past five years. In April of 2010, the Unity Games took place at Brock University, with participants from all over the Niagara region. May 2011 marked the second year of the games in the Niagara region. The third annual Unity Games was held on March 25th 2012. Unity Games which was once a small vision has grown to become a well known and appreciated annual event. The fourth annual Unity Games is already in sight! Stay tuned for more event details.

[edit] Involvement in Events & Responsibilities

Many of the past event coordinators have been lucky enough to be a part of the Niagara Unity Games of 2010, 2011 and the 2010, 2011 Unity Games in El Salvador. Our personal roles have changed each time we have experienced the event, allowing us to view them from a different perspective.

We have taken part as station leaders. We learned the game that we were to run ten different times that day (for each group) and we learned how to modify, adapt and debrief those games. We were able to interact with the participants and were responsible for ensuring that the youth “got it” when it came to the life skills for each activity.

During the Unity Games in El Salvador, we were team leaders. Instead of leading each station, we were assigned to a group of participants, and we travelled to all of the stations with them. We played less of a leading role, but a role still vital to the success of the event. We played with the children and motivated them to participate and enjoy themselves throughout the day.

Finally we have taken part as the organizing committee. The three of us chose to do an independent study as part of our degree, with the event as our “final project”. We have met week after week to ensure everything is set in place for the day. We chose the activities to be run for the event; we finalized the schedule, we have worked hard to include youth of all abilities, we developed a website as a resource and much more.

[edit] Influences

Our experiences working with youth for Unity Games has greatly impacted us both personally and professionally. We all strive to teach Health and Physical Education in the future, and we now have the tools to teach life skills through physical activity and sport. We truly believe that it does not only matter what you teach to your students, but how you teach it. Through volunteering at this event and now being a part of the organizing committee, we are able to see first-hand how a strategy like this really works. When a student leaves their physical education class, they may not remember all of the rules of a sport, but if they apply a life skill that they learned in PE in another area of their life, while doing so in a safe, healthy and active environment, then we are doing our job.

[edit] Informative Website

[edit] Purpose

An informative Unity Games website has been created to help promote and inform others about the Unity Games Events and the power behind them in creating inclusive environments where children and youth are provided with opportunities, to meet and make friends, participate in fun life skill building activities and enjoy being a kid!

[edit] Website Components

The website can be used by anyone to find out more information about Unity Games and the philosophy behind it, past events and their success, and current events and timelines. The website is also intended to be used as a resource by anyone who would like to put together their own Unity Games Event or use the activities in their school, classroom or just with any group of individuals. You can also find photos from all past Unity Games Events and watch an informative interview of Dr. James Mandigo as he discusses his passion for the event, hopes for its future and the inspiration behind his creation of Unity Games.

Please use the link below to visit the Unity Games website and experience a little more of what Unity Games is all about!

Unity Games Website

[edit] Future of Unity Games

[edit] The Importance of Unity Games

Unity Games has continued evolving since its development in 2005, through the passionate and enthusiastic work of volunteers. We want to continue to expand this event, throughout Ontario, Canada and even the world. Unity Games has the ability to affect youth in a positive way, and providing this opportunity for youth everywhere could be extremely beneficial for them.

By providing you with the information necessary to create your own Unity Games event, we hope to inspire you to implement the event in your own community. Spread the word and spread the joy of Unity Games. Let's work together to make this a nation-wide event!

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