“Uplay’s Currency is Joy”
- James Koizumi
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This is a summary of Uplay’s African educational sustainability trip!
The Uplay Team, led by Zoe AnDyke, embarked on a transformative journey across Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, spreading the joy of disc golf. The team, comprised of dedicated individuals, left an indelible mark on the African continent, fostering disc golf education and community development.
Building upon the groundwork laid by the Paul McBeth Foundation in 2022, the Uplay team focused on teaching disc golf to local communities, establishing coaches, and igniting enthusiasm for the sport. The journey, spanning from October 17th to November 5th, 2023, included extensive teaching sessions, PDGA-sanctioned tournaments, and the introduction of disc golf to Zimbabwe.
We captured the details of our amazing trip in our Africa Impact Report, which we would invite you to read.
The passion for disc golf in Africa is something truly special. Every individual welcomed us warmly and wholeheartedly, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing the growth of this sport in a continent brimming with naturally talented disc golfers. We felt incredibly honored to be in this position, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our partners, donors, and supporters who played a crucial role in getting us there.
In Uganda, the Uplay team impacted over 2,000 students and 81 teachers through educational sessions and then ran the historic Crested Crane Classic - Uganda's first PDGA-sanctioned event at Ndejje University Disc Golf Course. The ripple effect of the event extended to the Dean of Ndejje University bringing our team into his office to inform us that the East African Games has officially deemed disc golf it’s 17th discipline and that students can receive tuition discounts based on their performances at all organized events. We also got to witness our trained coaches in action teaching the Uplay Way in their native language to a community on a very remote island in Lake Victoria. It was a special experience seeing our hard work come to fruition right in front of our eyes.
Uplay was able to teach over 250 students and 16 teachers during its limited days of visiting schools because of National Testing Week, but each school is now able to continue with the development of disc golf interscholastically after receiving their gifted starter sets of discs and curriculum book from Uplay. With the help of local course owner Kevin Becker, Uplay also ran a PDGA C-Tier event – The Ostrich Open. Despite challenging weather, the event drew 34 players and marked a significant step in establishing disc golf in Kenya. Check out how the event and Uplay made Kenyan TV and another historical mark in African disc golf.
In the early stages of planning, Uplay’s planned trip was to visit locations in Uganda and Kenya, but the highly motivated and incredible spirit of team member James Koizumi was empowered to bring the joy of disc golf to Zimbabwe as well.
He introduced and taught Uplay methods to many overjoyed recipients. Alex Dewa and Edmond Jongwe began communicating with James leading up to the trip, for the purposes of organizing community leaders that would help make the most of James’s time there. There are now 20 disc golf coaches who are actively teaching the sport of disc golf in Zimbabwe. Among them, a highly influential professional in the education department, named Vanessa Liwonde, who was key in helping James teach disc golf to approximately 500 students, staff, administrators, and children.
To round out this incredible visit, James helped Alex and Edmond host the first-ever Zimbabwe Disc Golf Association meeting, which consisted of 17 community leaders and coaches in attendance!
There are so many moments captured in photos and video that it would be impossible to include them all in this newsletter. However, we have included this link for you to take a look at our whole mission in photos and immerse yourself in the pure joy we all experienced.
Uplay Disc Golf is incredibly proud of the hard work accomplished during our time in Uganda, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. All of our planned initiatives were extremely well executed, and the total impact in each country was more than anyone could have dreamt.
The newly formed African Disc Golf Federation is currently meeting and communicating about the potential of the African Disc Golf Tour and the development of future disc golf properties.
Quote from Zoē AnDyke: “My life has changed in the greatest way from this trip. I am proud and satisfied. I have a new kind of strength, and I am honored to continue on with the very important work of Uplay! Africa changed all of us, and it is a change that is a true gift that will keep on giving.”
We are making plans for next year but as always we can only bring these plans to fruition by fundraising. We hope you will be inspired to help us in 2024 by donating to our DISCember fundraiser. We thank you all for your support and belief
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