Play Rugby USA Celebrates Mandela Day

On July 18th all around the world, communities participated in Mandela Day–Nelson Mandela’s legacy for positive social change. Mandela Day was established after Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better. As the founder of Play Rugby USA, my vision is to create a “Better World through Rugby” by developing and empowering young people to achieve long term wellness and success.

As part of Mandela Day, we brought our Senior Academy students from all 5 boroughs of NYC to our Junior Sports Leadership Academy summer camp for an afternoon of fun, learning, and service. Below are a few photos with some inspirational quotes from Mr. Mandela – I hope you enjoy! If you like these and want to see a few more, check out Play Rugby USA’s Facebook and Flickr Pages.

Everyone has something positive they can give. If we all gave something every day, imagine what a difference we could make.

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”

Leading the way and passing on responsibility.

Leading the way and passing on responsibility.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Junior and Senior Academy players play team building games together

Junior and Senior Academy players play team building games together

“It always seems impossible until its done.”

It's only impossible until it gets done!

It’s only impossible until it gets done!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

The kids learn about healthy eating. Yummy!

The kids learn about healthy eating. Yummy!

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

The kids learned about Mandela's philosophy for social justice

The kids learned about Mandela’s philosophy for social justice

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”

We start and end every Play Rugby USA session with a circle up

We start and end every Play Rugby USA session with a circle up

Rugby 4 Good – Values in Action #1: Go Forward


Rugby is the only sport in the world where you have to advance the ball to the other end of the field in order to score, but you’re NOT allowed to pass the ball forward. Therefore, the only way to get the ball there is to go forward yourself: run forward, attack the opposition, create space, and gain territory while working with your supporting players to maintain possession of the ball. When coaching or watching young kids play rugby for the first time, “go forward” is something you’ll hear a lot!

In Rugby4Good terminology, Go Forward should also be relayed off the field. It is a great meta-theme for any Rugby4Good program or organization. Go Forward as we define it is to “Strive to improve, to experience growth, and to never give up“. This is a powerful message for a young person who may be facing adverse conditions on a regular basis. You (they) can’t control everything, but you can strive to be a better person, to make the most of your opportunities, to listen, to learn, and to develop. Combine this inquisitive desire for self improvement with a little grit and you have someone that is Going Forward!

Equally, Go Forward is a running theme in our social enterprise that can be applied to any business. We are continuously developing our curriculum, training programs, and overall program framework to intentionally maximize our youth development objectives. We work closely with our program partners to collaborate around achieving positive educational outcomes for our participants and on-going development opportunities for our respective staff. We regularly measure & evaluate our outcomes within a framework designed to achieve long-term social impact. In doing so, we face numerous challenges along the way around funding & budget cuts, space limitations, and policy changes, but we also identify and create opportunities determining ways to keep going forward.

Rugby4Good is about putting Values in Action – both on and off the field to create a culture of achievement. Here are seven ways to implement a Go Forward approach to your life or organization:

  1. Set an aspirational goal that is achievable in an ideal world.
  2. Identify your base-line. (Where are you now in relation to your goal)?
  3. Identify the steps you need to take to achieve the goal and set a time-line.
  4. What resources do you need to achieve each task?
  5. Who and what can help you secure those resources for each task?
  6. Start going forward with task #1.
  7. If you believe in your original goal, make it happen & don’t give up!