The sports coach finally got her thinking  

Camila Roskam (25) is one of the participants of the Utrecht team that participates in the European Life Goals Games. After years of setbacks, sports coach Kees made her think. “‘If everyone reacts like this,’ he would say, ‘then maybe you should communicate differently yourself. Not so negative.’ I tried that. And it worked, people suddenly reacted differently.” 

“So shall I just start from the beginning? Like I told my story to the EO back then?” After which Camila starts telling about her adoption from Colombia, just as she did to the reporter of Soup, Sores and Solace. In the series, the EO looks for hope and inspiration in people who were “pushed to the edges of society”.

CamilaPeople like Camila, in other words. Anyone who met her a few years ago could hardly imagine that these days Camila speaks calmly and with self-confidence about her past and indeed has an inspiring effect on others. The turnaround is almost unreal. “I didn’t talk about my problems,” she tells herself, “I felt that no one was listening to me. That they were all against me anyway.” Camila’s story begins at the age of four, when she was adopted by a Christian family from Oudewater, a village near Gouda. Her adoptive parents had two more boys from Colombia. “The three of us did attract attention in Oudewater. One of my brothers is very dark, the other a lot lighter and I am descended from the original Indians in Colombia. All the flavors we had in the house, haha.”

“I was four when I was adopted, so I have quite a few memories of that period. Don’t get me wrong: I love my parents, they gave me opportunities in life, but I had the realization at a very young age that I didn’t belong in the Netherlands. I was contradictory even before puberty began.” That got so out of hand that Youth Care recommended crisis shelter. Camila was placed out of the house and went from one crisis shelter to another. Until she got pregnant. “I was fifteen, which was quite a shock. Also for my strict religious father. He didn’t talk to me for weeks. My father and boyfriend couldn’t see eye to eye from the start. If he accepted my child, he also had to accept the father. He didn’t know if he could do that. To accept the child and not the father was not fair to my child.”

Camila moved to a teenage mother house in Zeewolde. She cannot pronounce the name of the place without disapproval. “Horrible I found it there. After three months the relationship with my boyfriend also broke down. Later I met someone in Zeewolde who was 18 years older. The fact that he was older actually gave me peace.” The only problem was that her new boyfriend was not averse to drugs. “I did blow, but I had never tried hard drugs. Naïve as I was, I said, ‘Sure, do me a little bit. Before I realized it, I was hooked on coke.”

Camila was 20 when she was evicted from that home. “The shelter was no longer receiving money for me. Suddenly I was on the street with my child. I was able to go to my parents’ house, but that wasn’t a success. I had been away from there for five years. Fortunately, I was able to get a house in Harderwijk. That’s where I first came into contact with sports.”

Camila was working as a stay-at-home teacher when one of the other mothers asked if she wouldn’t like to join a club of people who all had challenges in one way or another. “The woman had seen that I needed distraction. I had gotten rid of my ex, but not yet the addiction. Sports would help me. But physically I was a wreck – coke is destructive to your muscles. I was weak, physically unable to cope and I did a lot of blow, but still I went to that soccer field. The atmosphere there was very different from what I was used to. Open, very open. And the coach kept asking how I was doing, no matter how evasive my answers were.”

That coach was Kees Grovenstein – Camila pronounces his name with great respect. “He made me think about myself. I often putCamila the blame on the other person. But Kees challenged me to think about that. ‘If everyone reacts like that,’ he would say, ‘then maybe you should communicate differently yourself. Not so negative.’ I tried that. And it worked, people suddenly reacted differently. Later, when I was doing better, I started thinking back. How is it possible that Kees has always supported me? Even when I wasn’t feeling well? When my daughter was taken into care? How can someone have so much positive energy? It seems so simple: a little exercise, a chat with the participants and all problems are solved. It’s not that simple, of course, but his approach has inspired me tremendously.”

Nowadays Camila is a coach herself. As an assistant fitness trainer she works in a gym in Vianen, where she has settled down with her fiancé and now two children. After she struggled through the first sports training, she got the hang of it and now has several sports diplomas to her name, including that of Social Sports Coach. When she is not standing in front of a group of athletes, she is busy herself, as a guard in a team of American football players.
Would you like to know more about the European Life Goals Games? Visit our website!

All the news about the event can be found here.

Want to find out more about the European Life Goals Games? Visit our website website!

Europese Commissie

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