Samoa Institute of Sports (S.I.S.) is on a mission to mould young people to become leaders who can make a difference in all aspects of life.
At the opening of the first student athlete leadership conference at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel yesterday, S.I.S. Director Philippa Te Hira-Matatia said her organisation wishes to help student athletes succeed in the future.
“Sports helps with your school work, school work helps with your future. It’s about changing the mindset, stay active, stay healthy, fit body, fit mind and you go a long way,” Philippa said.
“We believe that leadership does not come with position, we are all leaders and what we are trying to make our young people understand is that they can make a difference in schools, churches, homes and wherever they are.”
The conference is funded by a grant from the United States Embassy in Samoa. In partnership with Toa Gas and Signs Studios, Philippa said the plan is to have it as an annual event.
Philippa said they have also partnered with principals from participating schools to help identify student athletes who will undergo the programme.
“At the back of this we have young people who will have the opportunity to apply for academic scholarships. The scholarships for instance will pay for school fees or sporting needs. So it is about athletic performance, leadership and academic performance as well.”
More than 30 Year 12 and 13 students from various schools around Samoa participated in yesterday’s event where the emphasis was on leadership. Today’s session focuses on how these student athletes can apply leadership in areas they involve themselves in.
“We are also focusing on how young people present themselves on social media; we need to be aware of the brand you wear because employers also look at that as well.”
U.S. Embassy’s Chargè D’Affaires, Tony Greubel encouraged the students to strive for excellence and to also understand that sports is a key to academic success.