Teaching PE in Thailand: A SPARKer's Journey Volunteering Abroad


By Billy Beltz, SPARK Marketing Director

I’ll admit it, I’m jealous of all the Physical Educators we interact with every day. I’m usually stuck in the SPARK office behind a desk, and they’re out there running around and working directly with the students. I’ve spent time teaching physical activity to youth and I know it’s hard work, and also how rewarding it can be.

So for 2013 I decided to step out of the office and onto the field more often… somehow that ended up being a field 8,000 miles away!

I’m excited to share that in March I’ll be participating in a volunteer project to provide a sports camp and teach physical education to youth in the rural Trat Province of Thailand. I’ll also be donating PE equipment to the schools that they can keep and use year-round, long after I’m gone.

So why is this project important? From my work with SPARK over the last 4+ years I’ve come to realize the amazing benefits of creating an environment where youth are able to engage in active, inclusive and FUN activity. It makes a world of difference- not the least of which is instilling a lifelong love of physical activity. The youth in the communities I’m visiting do not have access to this for much of the year, and that’s why the sports camp is such a big deal to the community there. And I’ll get to share some of SPARK’s amazing activities with the youth and teachers there and hopefully leave them with something they can use after I’m gone!

Additionally (and probably more important) is the ability to donate new PE equipment that will be of lasting benefit to the schools in the area. SPARK’s Executive Director Paul Rosengard has generously agreed to donate PE equipment from out office to be provided to the schools. I’ve checked with the local organization to see what they need and make sure I’m not bringing over anything that wouldn’t be put to good use. They were extremely excited to hear I might provide this, and I can’t wait for the kids to see it in person.

I’ll be volunteering with an organization called uVolunteer. If you’d like to learn more about my project, the organization or to donate to this cause, Click Here.

Wish me luck!!

Billy Beltz

Marketing Director