More than 170 players from a dozen Arab and Jewish communities joined the Ultimate Peace Hat Tournament this Saturday, making it the largest such event in UP’s history!!!

It comes after waiting, planning, hoping, and much anticipation…

For the last several months, UP-Middle East staff and volunteers have been running weekly practices in more than 10 communities. Leaders-in-Training(LITs) met each other every few weeks to learn more about leadership, the sport we love, and each other. Throughout these smaller events, players and LITs continue to give us hope and optimism for change in this troubled region.

This Fall’s UP Hat Tournament, the major interaction event to start the program year, had to be postponed due to recent concerns about the worsened regional conflict. We have been looking forward to when players can meet each other en masse after months of waiting. And with Players’ and LITs’ excitement we were finally able to put the event on the calendar and pull it all together…

As this special event approached, news of overwhelming excitement started to come in… Teams informed us that they would be bringing double the number of players they brought to similar events last year; LITs were taking charge and able to organize sign-up information better than any past Hat Tournament.

All the growing excitement and optimism was well-founded: the day’s playing, coaching, and relating to each other was all immensely uplifting for participants!!!

From mid-morning to late afternoon, teams (mixed by gender and culture) played lots of games, split up by a lunch break – during which Mentor Coaches and Third-Year LITs had their chance to model the five values in their own game. Here are just a few of the measures of success from Saturday’s event:

  • 172 players from roughly a dozen Arab and Jewish communities, a UP record
  • 20 Mentor Coaches co-leading 16 mixed gender and culture teams, another UP Hat record
  • 12 Third-Year LITs co-leading teams AND running the day as tournament directors
  • More parents of players than ever before attending the awards ceremony as the day ended

UP-Middle East wants to thank our many supporting families and communities in the Middle East. At the same time, we are continuing our Generosity Fundraising Campaign and need your support to continue this crucial ongoing programming where players, families, and communities build bridges year-round.