20/11-2018Erasmus+ kick-off meeting in GAME House Copenhagen
Three – Two – One – Kick-off! The Erasmus+ Sport Collaborative Partnership ‘Youth-Led Street Sport’ officially kicked off in February 2018 in Copenhagen. The five NGO partners, representing five NGOs in Denmark, Greece, Italy, Malta and Lithuania, gathered together to meet in person for the first time, to review the project goals, to learn about each other’s work, and to make a plan to help bring empowerment-through-sports to new groups of young people throughout Europe.
The Youth-Led Street Sport project will, by its completion, offer the public and practitioners new online tools to help begin and enhance street sport activities. It will also train new volunteers – “Playmakers” – to use these tools to bring physical and emotional well-being to young people in our five countries.
The five NGO partners
GAME, the Danish street sport organization that uses an empowerment curriculum to weave life skills into a basketball pass, dance step, parkour jump, etc., is the Coordinator of the project and welcomed its new partners to its indoor street sport facility in Copenhagen to get things started. Much of the two days was spent focusing on the strengths and experiences of each partner organization, as well as sharing and gaining a real understanding for the challenges each NGO faces in its daily work:
ARSIS, based in Greece but also working in Albania, is focused on child protection and working with youth and families. They use hard-working staff and volunteers and innovative methods to fight for the rights of vulnerable people and children. For example, mobile schools and circuses on the street are great outreach tools to share education and information. ARSIS is joined this project because they are always looking for better tools and new collaborations in to empower those who have traditionally been left behind by the system. They haverealized the power of sport as an agent of change and empowerment.
CESIE, an Italian organization, is dedicated to providing education in a lifelong, practical, hands-on and accessible way. They work to ensure that learning opportunities are available to all populations, especially young people, and conduct research and advocate for policies focused on opportunities for young people. CESIE has experienced that local and informal activities based on sports, art and culture are powerful instruments that bring different communities together and help individuals play more active roles in society.
Malta’s MOVE is an NGO dedicated to sports and filling the void of ‘nothing to do’ time, which often plagues Maltese youth. They seek to replace the empty breaks from school, the time spent in front of a screen, the time spent sitting at fast-food joints with fun, physical activity that strengthens the body as well as increase feelings of overall well-being in young people. They are active in working with volunteers, and have joined this Youth-Led Street Sport project because they want to partner with new organizations to bring new ideas and skills to their army of volunteers that will help them in their future personal and professional endeavors.
Integracios Centras has its home in Kaunas, Lithunia, and focuses its efforts on the refugees that are placed in that city’s reception center. While at this reception center the refugees often find themselves with too much free time on their hands, thus creating the need for organizations like Integracios Centras to bring organized but informal activities focused on fun, learning, and small steps toward empowering new residents to take part in a new country. IC – entrepreneurship and self esteem. Focused on refugees. Language learning important. Most refugees are from Ukraine, some also Syria. But not focused on any nationality. Beginning of refugee process starts in one center in Lithuania. There is legal representation but little else and thus the need for informal activities. This NGO works to mix refugees together with Lithuanian youth, and knows that sport is a fantastic way to bring people together who might otherwise never meet and interact.
The two-day inaugural meeting wasn’t all coffee and powerpoints: the group agreed to taste its own medicine by taking part in a team-building, body-challenging and sometimes gravity-defying parkour lesson, and enjoyed a nice meal together in Copenhagen’s Kodbyen district – the former butcher and meat-packing locale.