• ENGSO Youth

Time for teaming up! Looking back to successful Youth and Sport first joint session at the European

ENGSO Youth together with the Youth intergroup, Sport intergroup and the European Youth Forum organized on the 27th of September in the European Parliament a must-attend public session for everyone connected to youth, sports, inclusiveness and all possible combinations of those topics. An international panel with academics, youth workers, former elite athletes, entrepreneurs and presidents all highlighted their views on how sports can be used as a tool to include young people.

"Youth and Sport: Team-up for inclusive societies" has provided for the first time an avenue inside the Parliament for the sport and youth exchange, offering different perspectives and approaches to challenges both sectors are facing. Education is playing a role towards securing inclusive societies both for sport and youth, while Tuesday's discussion in Parliament confirmed once again need for collaborative and active action.

Chaired by Sport Intergroup Co-Chair, Mr Mark Tarabella and Youth Intergroup Coordinator, Mr Wout Van Caimere, followed by Sport Intergroup Co-Chair Mr Santiago Fisas and Vice-Chair Mr Bogdan Wenta, Event of Tuesday in the European Parliament has gathered attention and has set the bases for further joint interventions. Hopefully with even more decision makers involved, especially from the youth sector.

Good practices such as the Reading Stars project (Leicester – Jimmy Scinner), Kicks (Manchester – Sam Brown), Inser-sport (Catalunya – Gerard Esteva) and soccer club Molenbeek (Belgium – Mbo Mpenza) are living examples of what potential sports have to create inclusiveness at schools or sports clubs. Sport is a universal link between all youngsters without making any difference in origin, sex, intellectual level or resources, therefore elite athletes are perfect role models not only to reach children but also to motivate them. The above mentioned projects show proof those role models have a significant impact on different levels such as education, communication, integration, inclusiveness, social behavior, … These projects can be categorized under the “Sport – plus” actions, sport is used as the carrier to deliver a valuable package of informal learning, very interesting perspective heard from summary of sport4employability.eu European ongoing Study team.

The project GloBall (Belgium – Frederique Loones) shows the same positive result from another perspective. This is called a “Plus – Sport” project; the main focus is informal learning between youngsters where sport is used as one of the possible ways to obtain those results. The same cross-link between youth and sports also show positive results within youth organizations as they do in sports-organizations.

The astonishing results of these projects are backed by research from Reinhard Haudenhuyse (VUB) and Jasper Truyens (VUB). With a critical point of view they conclude that sports can be used as a way of informal learning to obtain necessary skills for self-development or even to improve chances on the job market. An important remark to bear in mind is that sports will not create that effect automatically, sports clubs and current structures should actively develop and adapt to create such an effect. Therefore it is important that sports results are not the only priority that should be pursued.

The Scouts (world organization of Scout movement – Camilla Palazzini) and International School Sport Federation (President – Laurent Pétrynka) definitely align in creating this powerful cross-link. School sports or youth organizations such as the scouts are able to reach and connect youngsters regardless of all possible discrimination factors. They are able to deliver valuable lessons through an informal channel such as sports.

The European Youth Forum (Lora Lyubanova) and ENGSO Youth (Michael Leyendecker) are stimulating this cross-link with different projects. The challenge lies within finding the perfect symbiosis of the dynamical sports-sector and the subtlety of informal learning. Bringing together important actors and good practices in this Team-Up between youth and sport will stimulate further collaborations and generate a powerful cross-link between both worlds.

“I insist on the special role of sport for integration and active participation of young people.” Mr Antonio Silva Mendes addressed the audience. “Youth as actors of a change”, Director of Youth and Sports Policies and Program, underlined while closing his interventions in the European Parliament, the importance of combining youth, sports and education on grassroots level with numerous opportunities via Erasmus Plus.

Event has been just a first stone in more joint (re)actions to come. Recommendations, best practice examples and inputs from both sides, direct exchange of practicionaires and decision-makers will be included in drafting the Pink paper, set of #youthandsport recommendations to be published at European Youth Sport Forum 2017.

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