European Youth Sport Forum officially opened
Today the European Youth Sport Forum 2017 in Malta was officially opened. The representatives of Sport Malta, Mr. Yves Le-Lostecque, Head of Unit EAC Sport European Commission and the Secretary General of ENGSO Youth, Ms. Nevena Vukasinovic, welcomed the 120 young leaders in sport.
Under the support of the Maltese EU Presidency, this European Youth Sport Forum (EYSF) gives young European people an opportunity to voice their opinions and recommendations to the governing bodies of sport in Europe. One of the priorities of the Maltese Presidency is social inclusion, therefore it is one of the major topics of the EYSF, along with sport diplomacy and healthy lifestyle.
The presentation of Special Olympic athlete Gilmour Borg and Tobias Staebler, Special Olympics Sport Coordinator, made a huge impact on the participants. Gilmour shared a personal story, about the difficulties he overcame through sport: “ I felt left out, I was bullied but then I discovered Special Olympics. Sport gave me self-confidence. Now Special Olympics is everything for me, they are my family.” Gilmour also addressed the participants to help and support people with special needs in sport: “how would you feel if society would leave you out?”.
The second keynote speaker, Ms. Lara Tonna, shared her experience on volunteering. Ms. Tonna works as a lecturer at the Institute of PE and Sport at the University of Malta. She mentioned the importance of volunteering for a professional career as one can gain important skills and contribute to society at the same time.
Mr. Ivan Riolo shared a good practice project, an initiative of Sport Malta: Move 360. This project offers an after school physical activity program for kids, making them encounter the joy of sport at an early age.
After the keynote speaker sessions, it was time to discuss and exchange knowledge in working groups. Through the non-formal education method, the participants were challenged to give recommendations on the three main topics. These recommendations will be collected in the final declaration of the forum, the Pink Paper. This Pink Paper is the answer of youth to the so-called White Paper, the first official document on sport published by the EU. The aim of the Pink Paper is to give recommendation of the Youth Sport sector to the EU sport policies.
And of course this wouldn’t be a Youth Sport Forum if there weren’t any actual sport activities, so in the afternoon all participants went to the beach to be active. The sport games were all organized by Sport Malta, it was a great way for the participants to get to know each other in a different way and to team up for some physical activities on the sandy beach of Golden Bay.