30 nov. 2010

Competing at the National Level!? (part 1: youth boxing)

**Though the primary focus of our programs in Camoapa, Nicaragua is education, The Sunrise Foundation and our staff members are highly involved in other community development projects, especially those that benefit local children and adolescents. We especially believe that team sports activities can be a crucial component for childhood development, especially here in Camoapa, where a lot of youth turn to drugs and alcohol at an early age.**

Youth Boxing

Sebastian Laguna, our local Program Director, and Jim Ferriera, our long-term American volunteer, were both instrumental in the development of a Camoapan Youth Boxing Commission to support a local project. With donated space from a local Camoapan resident and the vital support from the Police Department and the Mayor’s office, a gym was established and a retired professional boxer was recruited and hired from Managua. Five nights a week he trains any and all interested youth, both male and female. A total of 48 young men are involved at various levels. The majority are at-risk adolescents, some of whom are reformed alcoholics or drug addicts. He also trains some younger boys, age 9-12, and an additional 15 adolescent girls.

Since opening the gym in February of this year, there have been 4 locally sponsored fights here in Camoapa against other teams brought in from Boaco and Managua, as well as 2 fights outside of Camoapa (one in Managua, another in Yalí.) All 4 local events attracted huge crowds from town and served to raise team spirit and community camaraderie. As a team, Camoapa won all 6 fights that they have participated in, and 7 of the most dedicated boys qualified to fight at the national level. The national event, called Futuras Promesas, was held in Juigalpa, the last weekend in November. Two of the 7 Camoapan boxers won in the first round but were then eliminated. Despite no one making it to the semi-finals, it was a huge accomplishment to make it as far as they did. They will continue to train and will come back stronger next year.