Infectious Enthusiasm by Macki Shopland

6 05 2016


Hello Champions Alumni, Friends, Family, and Followers,

My name is Macki Shopland and I am a first time undergraduate Champion. Today was our second day of Unity Games at Five Islands Primary School and Pigotts Primary School. Reflecting back on the day, I can’t help but compare the Unity Games experience to playing a competitive sport. We started by hydrating last night for the long, hot day ahead, ate a good meal, and had a good night’s sleep. Then this morning driving to Five Islands, our car had music blasting but everyone was in their “zone”; we all wanted to preserve every bit of energy for the children we would soon be seeing, but were also so excited and nervous to see how the day was going to unfold. Every school is so different and starting at Five Islands, which is the largest primary school we work with, we wanted to be able to match their enthusiasm and excitement. As we pulled up, we couldn’t help but smile at all the amazing children waiting for us to get our of our cars; it was game time.

Now it was time to execute all the hard work we had prepared and practiced. If I have learned anything from this experience so far, it’s that not everything will go as planned and that is okay. Due to the number of children at the school and the limited space for activities, we had smaller sections for our games and about 20 students each rotation. This made for what probably looked like chaos (and truthfully probably was at points), but allowed us to utilize our Grade 6 students to play a larger leadership role this year than ever before. This also allowed us Champions to feed off of each other’s energy within the close proximity.

After a successful morning at Five Islands, we were off to Pigotts Primary for our second Unity Games of the day. When our cars drove up, the enthusiasm was even higher at this school than anything we had seen before. Our Unity Games Leader Jenelle set such a great example of the kind of energy we needed to bring for the second time that day. To those students, this was their first and only Unity Games with us of the year even if it was our third time through the activities. After wolfing down our lunches and chugging back some water, we were ready to make these students’ day. But in all honesty, I think we all left that field feeling like those students’ made our day; their enthusiasm, eagerness to learn and lead by example, their involvement and just plain goofiness was all astounding. These children were beaming ear to ear to have us there teaching them not only fun games, but were eager to learn the connections they have to different aspects of their life.

It is days like today that remind us of how much work and energy goes into something that may only be a few hours long. Both Five Islands and Pigotts have been collaborating with the Champions for Health program for the past eleven years. Seeing the teacher’s and student’s involvement and passion for what this program stands for was truly shown. It makes us believe that the many past Champions and ourselves are making a lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of the children of this island. Thank you to all of our supporters, Champions alumni, Dr. Sheppard and the people of Antigua for making this program what it is today. I could not be more honored to be apart of such a diverse, supportive, and impactful team.


Macki Shopland



5 responses

7 05 2016
Laurie Shopland

Great summary of the level of excitement, energy and hard work that went into these games!
I can only imagine how this Champion experience will mold your future teaching years!
Well done!
Hugs – Mama Shopland

8 05 2016
joe williams


12 05 2016
Macki Shopland

Thanks gramps! It has been such an amazing experience so far, can’t wait to catch up when I’m back. Xox

9 05 2016
Nan Shopland

How exciting to read about your adventures in far away lands Macki. What an amazing, life changing opportunity you are in. You are incredible. En-Joy.

12 05 2016
Macki Shopland

Thank you Auntie Nan! It has truly been life changing. Thank you for your constant support, miss you! Xox

Leave a Reply for the Champions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s