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Summer Softball has become a major program in Azerbaijan. Over the last few years, four communities have built strong teams dedicated to the principles of fair play, team work and inclusion. Last summer alone, over 60 youth were directly involved in the program. Due to increased interest and renewed community support, the program is looking to expand beyond its four initial communities.
Last season the league was able to hold a number of weekend tournaments. Youth were given the opportunity to meet and compete against other Azerbaijanis, as well as a great number of Peace Corps Volunteers. The interactions created strong bonds of friendship and sparked further interest in softball throughout Azerbaijan.
In 2009, the league’s main objective is to continue holding weekend tournaments at the existing sites, while expanding participatory opportunities to youth from outside the four original communities. Youth from interested communities will be able to accompany a PC Volunteer to one of the tournaments. The youth will be given the opportunity to play alongside current participants, all the while gaining exposure to the concepts of fair play, teamwork and inclusion. When the youth return home, they will be able to share their experiences with their respective communities.
As always, the goals of the league are to promote teamwork, build good sportsmanship and enhance community pride, all the while, providing a healthy out of school activity for local youth. The project helps to build self-esteem, commitment to a partnered activity and allows youth of both genders to interact in a positive setting.
Note: This summary was provided by a Peace Corps Volunteer and the community administering this project.
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