In just a few short weeks a young coach with the Campbell River Athletic Association will travel half the world away to share her love of rugby and bring the joy of play to high school youth in northern Uganda.
Georgia Bellamy, a Gr. 12 student at GP Vanier in Courtenay, will be joining this year’s Gainline Africa tour as a coach. She will take her experiences from the past five years with her on this journey including playing in the front row, coaching with the Campbell River youth rugby program and winning provincial and national gold medals with her high school, regional and provincial teams.
Gainline Africa is a unique international development organization that uses rugby as a tool for re-building in post-conflict Northern Uganda. Bellamy, along-side the other selected Canadians and their Ugandan partners, will provide hands-on support acting as mentors, coaches, and friends to the secondary students by offering value-based rugby programs that support a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, the Gainline participants will learn about development issues and have the opportunity to experience a culture and community far from home.
For Bellamy, she is following in the footsteps of her inspirational grandmother. Hilda Shilliday, 85, has just returned from her seventh trip to Uganda where she volunteers in an HIV/AIDS clinic and supports development through sponsoring education and health initiatives.
Bellamy’s mother joined Shilliday in 2010 and now, according to the young athlete, “Uganda has become much more than a country where my grandmother volunteers. It is a place where our family has built many lasting relationships and friendships. Now, following my grandmother and mother’s footsteps, it is my turn to do what I can to support Uganda in continuing to be an amazing country.”
Bellamy’s trip begins in early June and she is making the final preparations. Bellamy will be taking rugby items such as shoes, balls, and clothing, which will be distributed by Gainline Africa to players and teams in need. To support Bellamy in her journey and the work of Gainline Africa you can visit her Canada Helps fundraising page at www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/georgias-coaching-tour/ or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone with rugby items to send along can contact Bellamy before June 5 to arrange pick-up.