The UP Middle East (UPME) program has evolved significantly over the last 4 years. Unlike other co-existence programs in the region, particularly those in the area of sport, these tailored features have been developed and implemented to create a comprehensive and inclusive program, one that strives to constantly push itself to meet the changing needs of our participants.
A Program for Life – The program is designed to engage youth through middle and high school, and well into adulthood. Now running throughout the school year, UP offers all 14 communities a continuum of activities from September to June. Community team practices, league games, large quarterly tournaments, and special events enable ongoing engagement. Camp UP, held in July, is a culmination of the year’s activities, and its full immersion approach is a major highlight and catalyst for increasing year-round participation. The “Leaders in Training” leadership program bolsters teen involvement through high school. A new employment program is being designed to provide internships and ultimately hire LIT’s as coaches, staff, and administrators.
Creating a Level Playing Field – Youth from all of our communities learn and discover the new sport and its many impacts together, creating an unusual dynamic of parity and fairness from the outset. This helps youth feel comfortable in starting the program, and combats the unfortunate existing inequities.
“For the first time in my life I recognized what spirit of the game is and how sport should be. I changed the way I was playing basketball too.” – Asmaa
Multiplier Effect – The “Leaders in Training” program (currently in its fourth year) prepares and supports teen leaders to start and lead teams back in their own communities. Spreading the game and its values from participants and not just staff is proving to be a major growth strategy – UP LIT’s started up 5 new local youth teams in different communities in the last year. At least 8 more will begin this year.
Collaboration – Ultimate Peace has many important partnerships. The collaborative partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport continues to strengthen our connection to the municipalities and schools in the communities with whom we work within Israel. Our relationship with the Ministry of Education allows UP to leverage our status as being one of the most respected model summer camps in the country. Our partnership with the World Flying Disc Federation connects us to players and supporters all over the world. Working closely with IFDA, The Israeli Flying Disc Association, has led to Arab youth from our program trying out for and making the Israeli National Youth teams.
Skills for Broader Change – How to resolve a dispute on the sports field is a major focus of the program. In the aggressive world of Middle East sports, this is a highly useful skill to have. We encourage our youth to apply our 5 core principles: mutual respect, friendship, non-violence, integrity, and fun, in all aspects of their lives: at school, at home, in their communities. We are heartened and excited by witnessing and hearing reports of great success in this area.
If you are in the region, and would like to find out how you can get involved, contact us.