BELIZE. The BNYCF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting chess among the youth of Belize. There are approximately 800 kids in the program coming from 6 districts. We are working with Ella Anderson, their program director, to make a significant difference in their lives by donating copies of The Art of Learning to the children and their volunteer coaches who received workshop training in positive teaching and coaching techniques and in using chess as an educational and motivational tool.
Says Ella: “We wanted to makes sure that our kids…understand that the word ‘complete’ or ‘ultimate’ when applied to a chess player is a very broad concept and involves a lot of different qualities and that,we, their coaches, are not expecting just victories from them. Rather, we are expecting them to be human, make mistakes, learn from mistakes,…love the game and be passionate about it and want to win but also enjoy the process of playing regardless of the outcomes of individual games. It is important to create the environment where we, as coaches, continue to provide positive reinforcement for the hard work and efforts, not just for the results. This needs to be constantly reinforced in coaches as well as in kids. In order to address the above-mentioned issues, it is important not to just “preach” to the kids about right and wrong but to create an environment where they are given a chance to experience the concepts in real life. That is what our program is about, and since we started the National Belize Youth Chess Foundation, we have had more than 400 participants in our workshops for coaches and staged 24 tournaments in all districts of Belize with more than 1200 participants, and 40 camps with over 950 participants. We are continuing to apply The Art of Learning concepts to all our events.”