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After months and months of buzz and preparation, the award-winning Future Goal school program has kicked off on the island of Curaçao and it’s looking promising! An initiative by luxury resort company Sandals Resorts, together with the philanthropic Sandals Foundation, reigning Dutch football champions Ajax Amsterdam and local urban youth organization Favela Street, Future Goals was created for young people to combine education, environmental conscience, and their favorite sport in a fun and effective manner. Sandals Resorts boasts seventeen luxury resorts throughout the Caribbean, including the Royal Curaçao at Santa Barbara on the southwest coast of the island, and Ajax Amsterdam counts the Curaçao Tourist Board among its shirt sponsors, so picking Curaçao as a launch point for the next Future Goals program was an easy choice.
Future Goals for Curaçaoan youth
As briefly mentioned earlier, while Ajax is one of the founding partners of the initiative in Curaçao, the Future Goals program is about much more than football. The goal is to use the local youth’s love of football in order to get them involved in training life skills as well, always based on the core principles that have brought Ajax so much footballing success over the decades. At the same time, program participants are also encouraged and empowered to think about their environment and the responsibility each one of them has in taking care of it.
“It is the goal of Ajax to ensure that as many children as possible enjoy the game of football, while imparting the key principles that we hold true – discipline, respect, teamwork, creativity and being the best”, explains Menno Geelen, Commercial Manager at Ajax Amsterdam, “Based on the children’s engagement alone, the program is off to a solid start – and this is just the beginning”.
While the Future Goals program kicked off at Niewindt College, Willemstad, with a group of sixth-grade students, many more schools will be involved this academic year. About forty primary schools and hundreds of students ages 8 to 12 will get access to the program’s 8-week curriculum, consisting of both class and field work. The program is taught by so-called Future Coaches from Favela Street, who in turn have been trained by coaches from the Ajax Coaching Academy. These trainers were educated during an intensive two-week workshop at the Sandals Royal Curaçao Resort at the start of September.
Each participating primary school will also receive two football goals manufactured by local plastic recycling company Limpi Recycling, who used plastic waste and disregarded fishing nets for the posts, as well as fourteen Adidas footballs. The endgame of the Future Goals program, from a football point of view at least, is the national tournament that will be organized on the island when the program has finished. A few weeks ago, Sandals Resorts and Ajax were even awarded the prestigious ECA (European Club Association) Corporate Partnership Award for the creative way in which Future Goals approaches the topic of sustainability and youth awareness. The ECA represents all 246 clubs that play European football (Champions League, Europa League, Conference League) and the award is proof of the school program’s growing international recognition.
“Future Goals is facilitating football in the Caribbean in a way that supports the environment and protects our natural resources”, says Patrice Gilpin, PR Manager at the Sandals Foundation, “The program presents a dynamic opportunity to empower the next generation to be fearless in advocating and effecting sustainable change by challenging them to identify and implement conservation habits within their respective homes and communities”.
The basis for this article was originally published on www.eturbonews.com and others in October 2022.