As part of partnership between Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation of the Ministry of Community & Cultural Affairs and Palau National Olympic Committee this summer, there are over 100 students/youth ages 14-25 working and learning about Sports for Development and Performances, but also engaging in traditional learning, understanding and historical site visits at respective States. This summer 2020 is especially special with the pandemic COVID 19 impacts and many students/youth staying Palau, provided a greater opportunity for the youth to engage in programs offered to them such as the national government Competence Skill Learning Summer Employment Program (CSLSE) where employment is offered to youth and young adults to various agencies and semi government in Palau. For this summer through the, the youth employed through sports can learn to improve their techniques and sports performance but now also engage in traditional learning of Palau tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
The first week the youths were assigned to respective sports had a week to learn about Sports and Leadership through a sports camp in partnership with Palau National Olympic Committee and various sports such as basketball, volleyball, athletics, and wrestling and Omekullel a Bibilia, where learning was focused on leadership through sports and community responsibilities. After the leadership camp, the mentors and the youth continued to train and participate in their specific sports and take lead in what they have learned in the sports leadership camp. The 2nd week to the fourth week other sports such as canoeing and baseball had youths/young adults join in the summer learning program, where not only sports was offered to the young/athletes to improve their skills in sports, but also to learn about traditional history of Palau. Every week since June 30th, the 100plus sports youth had participated in learning about Koror State history and tradition, particularly learning about Koror States traditional and local names of places and villages throughout the main town of Koror. The Koror State Cultural Office are also partner in all the sessions with the youth to learn about Koror State. A particularly hamlet of Meyuns have been the main learning place for our youth through sport where history and significant historical sites and oral history has been shared to them every Tuesday until the of July. On July 2nd, the group had an opportunity to visit Melekeok, where they were also offered to visit the Bai Ra Melekeong and learn about the significance of the writings and the structure of the Bai. On July 8th the students had a visit to Ngchesar to visit the historical sites of Ngchesar and also visit the Bai R’ Oldiang and learn about oral history and traditional stories of Oldiais. The Palau National Olympic Committee express appreciation to Koror State Government, Melekeok State Government and Ngchesar State Government, the Chiefs of each States, the staff, and the historians for making each visit with the youth in sports very unique and special in all their visits. It is important for our young people to always learn and come to understand our places, languages and the strength of our relationships that bonds us Palauans and helps the continuity in raising the capacities our young people that they always look forward when given the opportunity and every visit we make.