A middle school class in Seattle approached ARIA with the idea of using discs as a communication tool for their upcoming trip to Rwanda.
The students wanted to bring the sport of ultimate to the school they were working with in a way that was inclusive and additive, and ARIA was able to bring together the concepts of the trip to design a disc that would have the best impact. It was important to include the map of the country, as well as a star to represent the location of the city where the Rwandan school was located. This gave the local Rwandan students a sense of pride in the physical product, and beyond that the official style of the design further solidified the feeling of importance of the discs. Adding the names of the US school and the Rwandan school personalized it further, and including sharp lines and national colors made the discs recognizable and a clear piece of communication for the students to interact with.
The result was ultimate! "It was something we could do without knowing how to speak the same language and that was really cool," explained one of the Seattle students.
"The kids from each school were able to connect with each other through a non-verbal activity." Ultimate is unique in that it encourages communication skills to resolve foul calls, and this made it fun and challenging for the two cultures to interact and intersect in a meaningful way. From explaining the basic rules to designing complex strategies, there were many laughs and excitement on all sides.
ARIA is so excited to have participated in this adventure! We got to meet with the Seattle middle schoolers three times to talk about ultimate, how the disc can be used as a tool for social change, how to think about non-verbal communication on the field, and to recap and debrief how the trip went.
Since the trip, ARIA has been in further contact with several Rwandan ultimate communities about other ways we can support the growth of the sport in their country. We're so proud when this happens, because it is case in point why we run our business the way we do, with our 1 for 1 donation model and our insistence that ultimate players see the disc as more than just a piece of plastic. More info about our social partners can be found here.
And if you would like to take action, pick up a disc or two in our online store! When you buy a disc, you get to choose a social partner, and we will donate a disc to those folks to put to good use.