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Working with Compassion Games International

"Compassion is an antidote to the fear, disconnection, and social isolation of our time.”  - Compassion Games International

Play for Peace just started a new event called Compassion Games: Serve the Earth Week, which began on Saturday, April 16, and runs through Sunday, April 24.  PFP Clubs from around the world are participating, thanks to a woman named Amanda Cook, who we will tell you more about later this week. Amanda is a social work student in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, and our current Compassion Games Coordinator. She recently finished an internship with PFP, where she acquired tons of experience working with Compassion Games International, and helping to facilitate Play For Peace’s role in these events. So, for those of you who aren’t familiar with their organization, who is Compassion Games International?

After having the opportunity to interview Amanda and understand her experience with them, I’d like to share with you a bit about the organization, and their partnership with PFP. Compassion Games International says it best: They offer "fun and creative ways to ignite and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. In the five annual Compassion Games, competition becomes coopetition as teams and individuals challenge one another to strive together to make our planet a better place to live through community service, acts of kindness, and raising monies for local causes.” As noted, Compassion Games International organizes five events each year.

Last year, members of the organization met our Executive Director, Sarah Gough at the Council of the World Religions Conference, and this is where the connection was made. As Amanda Cook notes, the bond was instantaneous: "It was just a natural fit. The two organizations are very like-minded." Each of the events is anywhere from a three- to 11-day challenge, and it involves daily acts of compassion. At PFP, we have created very PFP-specific games for each of the events that can easily be incorporated into our Clubs, which even take some of our traditional games and combine them with the theme of the event.

On top of this, Compassion Games International also offers daily mission options. People can sign up either as a team or as individuals, and they are then welcome to play using either the PFP model or one of the daily missions. They then report back so that the process can be shared! After the information is shared, a friendly “coopetition” happens, wherein groups/individuals are scored based on criteria including the number of volunteers, the volunteer hours, and the number of people served. That number gets put onto a scoreboard simply to inspire others to perform acts of compassion in their community. Amanda herself not only helped to organize PFP’s role in these events but also participated in some events with her two four-year-old nieces. Referring to a peace tree that she and her nieces built, on which they drew things that make them happy, Amanda said this: “Every time I passed by that tree, I would stop, and it offered me a bit of light that they were able to express what made them happy. It makes me happy to see that.” In this way, these events cultivate a mixture of self-compassion and compassion towards others.

As mentioned above, we just started "Compassion Games: Serve the Earth Week.” on Saturday, April 16th and this continues straight through until Sunday, April 24th. Amanda tells me that there are 12 teams in the Earth Week Compassion Games just from India alone - a really exciting prospect. At Play For Peace, we believe in the power of play as a path to creating a kinder, more compassionate global community. Compassion Games International mirrors those values perfectly and emphasizes the science of compassion as a necessary and healthy component in our lives. A wonderful quote from their website sums this up perfectly:

"Compassion is an antidote to the fear, disconnection, and social isolation of our time. Scientific research abounds in revealing the intrinsic human necessity for compassion to flourish in our personal, professional, and civic lives. As a profound source of power within each of us, playing with compassion inspires us to connect authentically with one another, rejuvenating our spirits as we actively live into a positive vision of our world, together.”

Keep an eye out for our blogs over the next two weeks to see how our role in the Compassion Games: Serve the Earth Week went!  

REFERENCES Compassion Games International. Official Website, 2016.