• ENGSO Youth

You(th) Be Active - the role of young people in building a healthy and active European society

On the occasion of the third European Week of Sport (23-30 September 2017), the International Sport Association of Budapest realized an Erasmus Plus founded youth exchange in Pilismarót, Hungary. From Portugal to Bulgaria and Sicily to Latvia, the You(th) Be Active project united 40 young Europeans to learn about the importance of active and healthy living and the basics of EU youth and sport policies. During the week participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the key messages of the European Week of Sport introduced by the experts of the Hungarian Leisure Sport Federation. In order to promote the #BeActive lifestyle for wider audience and to engage the local community, participants organized sport activities at a local school for over 120 children. The event was a good occasion for the institution as well to join the European School Sport Day 2017.

But what is the role of young people in making the European society a more active and healthier one? The main goal of the European Week of Sport is to promote sport and physical activity for everyone, regardless of age, background or fitness level. Due to nowadays’ rapid socio-economic changes – spread of info-communication technologies, increasing social differences, sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity - the old continent is facing challenges that can be tackled only through joint effort of all groups of society. Young people are highly influenced by these challenges, therefore they should take the leading role in countering the negative effects of modernization. Education to healthy and active living is of a crucial importance at an early stage of life which can be achieved also through non-formal methods - the key aspects of youth work.

European decision makers like to emphasize the importance of the cross-sectoral approach of health-enhancing physical activity and related sport policies, however there is still not enough understanding on the role of youth work in developing a more active and healthier generation. Initiatives like the You(th) Be Active perfectly demonstrate that there is an increasing need for projects utilizing the power of non-formal education to spread the messages of the European Week of Sport and the EU sport policy as well. Increased participation of young people can be one of the success factors of EWoS and Erasmus+ plays an important role in engaging them. On the other hand, education through sport can be utilized to raise awareness on certain social challenges such as social exclusion that can be tackled through the inclusive nature of sport activities.

In the You(th) Be Active project ENGSO Youth was represented through the organizer Bence Garamvölgyi (ENGSO Youth Committee Member) and the facilitators Dóra Faragó and Anett Fodor (both ENGSO youth delegates). Our message is crystal clear: at the age of rapid technological advancements and increasing physical inactivity rates, young people should play an important role in making their communities more active and healthier, not leaving anyone behind! The future of sport for all highly depends on young generations so let their voice heard in the European sport movement!

photos: Niels de Fraguier https://goo.gl/Vu5zxi