It is so amazing what you can get done when you take the time to do it right! This past week, ADAH (Association pour le Development de Athletisme Amateur) achieved our goal of sending 9 athletes to the International CARIFTA Track and Field tournament in the Bahamas! Since July of last year we have worked diligently to start a track and field program in Haiti, hold monthly competitions for clubs and schools, pre-select over 20 athletes to train for the CARIFTA games, and in the end, actually send a competitive delegation of young Haitian athletes to a tournament that didn’t even have one Haitian athlete as a representative last year. As the Vice-President of ADAH, I couldn’t be more proud!
ADAH started in July of last year with a simple message I posted on Facebook about wanting to start a youth track and field program in Haiti. I was immediately contacted by Samyr Laine, a Haitian Olympic Triple Jumper (made the finals in London!), and from there he provided me with contacts here on the ground of Haiti of some coaches that might be interested. I met with Coach Rochy and Coach Maxime, both amazing individuals, and with help from additional committee members we began holding monthly tournaments for the youth of Haiti.
On the first tournament day, the judges showed up late, the teams showed up late, we started more than 1 hour behind schedule, it was disorganized, and there was a lot of head shaking on my end. Our last tournament was so different! Judges were on time, teams came early, we started right on time, and ran the event in a much more professional manner! I was so pleased at the progress of our athletes, our judges, coaches, and all involved. I look forward to an even more productive year next year!
To me, ADAH is a great example of what can happen when foreigners and Haitian nationals work together to accomplish a given goal. I could not have started ADAH without Coach Maxime and Coach Rochy, they have been instrumental in finding judges, organizing events, calling teams, etc. My role has been to bring a group of individuals together, find the needed funds, and help administrate our programs in an effective manner. Together we have worked diligently, and succeeded, in creating an organization in Haiti that is making a difference in the lives of youth. I look forward to our continued programming during the summer, and the start of our 2013-2014 season in August. It’s going to be another great year!