ERASMUS+ SPORT –By the Young for the Young

ERASMUS+ SPORT –By the Young for the Young: EYOF 2021 to foster inclusion and physical activity

Organizations and activities
The project coordinator is Regional Sport Association of Kainuu which will also be the practical organizer of the European Youth Winter Olympic Festival (EYOF). The event will be held in Vuokatti from the 20th – untill the 25th of March 2022. The competitions include biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, figure skating, short track, alpine skiing, snowboarding and ice hockey.

EYOF is organized under European Olympic Committees’ (EOC) supervision. Also The Finnish Olympic Committee plays a major role in utilising the EYOF event in the development of sports throughout Finland and spreading the Olympic ideology.

The purpose of the project
The main goal of the project is to increase the social inclusion of young people by taking advantage of a major international sports event. In addition, the project aims to utilize the event and the related Olympic ideology in activating Kainuu’s children and young people in health-promoting exercise. The project utilizes the EYOF event as comprehensive empowerment of young people through participation, capacity building, internationalization and the promotion of physical activity.

The motto of the event is “by the young people for the young people”, which means that the organisation utilises young experts from different educational institutions and involves young people in the area and young competitors who will take part in the event to plan and produce event content. The aim is to get young actors widely into the roles of responsibility as well.

The EYOF event and the related Olympic ideology will also be utilised in increasing the physical activity of Kainuu’s children and young people by building various campaigns around the event in schools and educational institutions to activate children and young people to exercise, and by bringing Kainuu’s children and young people to watch the events that they would get physically more active in the future.

The internationality of the event is an added value to the whole region of Kainuu and an opportunity for the organizer, Regional Sport Association.

Innovative aspects
The aim of the project is to prevent exclusion, increase social inclusion and promote health-promoting physical activity by empowering young people. Vuokatti EYOF 2021 event will be utilised in a versatile and innovative way to achieve these goals:

  1. Involving young people in event organisation
    a. developing co-operation with educational institutes
    b. increasing young people’s media literacy
  2. Increasing young people’s sport club management and coaching skills
  3. Promoting physical activity of children and young people

Quality of the project design and implementation
Each work package has been created according to the main purposes of the project.

Work package 1: Increasing the involvement of young people and promoting internationalisation

The measures in this work package will support the social inclusion and international networking of young people aged 15-25. In addition, the measures will enable effective co-operation with educational institutions in the implementation of major sporting events in the future. Youth involvement will focus on creating a strong community among young volunteers, supported by social media themes designed for the event, matching clothing, and joint networking events.

The measures to be taken within the work package are:
1.1 Educational co-operation with local schools by recruiting and training students for the organisation of the event.

1.2 Creating community by integrating and motivating the volunteers in the different stages of the event.

1.3 International Youth Media Camp where the aim to increase the media visibility of EYOF and youth sports in general especially girl’s sports.

1.4 Scientific research on the effectivness of the project.

Work package 2: Increasing the coaching and club management skills of young people and activating them for club management activities. The measures in this work package will support the development of the skills, as well as employability and international networking of young coaches and sports leaders aged 20-29 years.

2.1 International Sports Students Winter School to increase the participant’s skills in sports marketing and management and to learn how sports management is implemented in different countries.

2.2 International Programme for Young Coaches focusing on the specifities of coaching young athletes and supporting the career development and employability of young coaches.

Work package 3: Increasing physical activity for children and young people. The aim of the measures in this work package is to activate children and young people from Kainuu to exercise using the EYOF event. The Olympic ideology in connection with the EYOF and the international top sport status of the event motivate Kainuu’s children and young people to participate in sports activities and increase the visibility and appreciation of sports throughout the province.

3.1 Municipality Tour where a diverse exercise programme for primary school children and their families will be organized under the leadership of the mascot.

3.2 Everyday Olympic Games between school classes where the 9th graders (about 700 16-year-old pupils) will compete against each other for a month using smartphone activity indicators in the amount of everyday sports.

3.3 Schoolchildren as spectators for the EYOF event.

Participants in project activities are selected using different methods and criteria depending on the activity and its content.

Methodology and Project team
The implementation of the project includes the three main work packages presented in the previous section. A project team with ten full- or part time employees with different length contracts depending on the tasks of each work package is responsible for implementing the work packages. The members of the project team are the experts on the needed fields.

Impact
Quality control of final outcomes
External evaluation of the effectiveness of project results is a key part of project quality control. In addition, the careful selection and knowledge of partners, project staff and external experts is key to ensuring the quality of the project. Measures to ensure the effectiveness and quality of the project in five different fields:

  1. Measuring the results of the work packages
  2. Project partner network
  3. Project personnel
  4. Content design
  5. Expert speakers

Expected impact of the project
The project has a number of significant positive effects on both the young people involved and the organizations involved in the project. The main impact of the whole project can be defined as the increase of young people’s multilevel skills and inclusion.

The expected impacts can be divided into impact of project on participants and participating organisations. Whereas the impact outside of the project network can be divided into four different levels: 1. local, 2. regional, 3. national and 4. European.

Dissemination
The dissemination of the project results is a key part of the project, as it allows the activities carried out in the project to take root and also raises awareness of the opportunities offered by the Erasmus+ programme to promote EU added values. The three main themes and objectives of the dissemination of the project results are:

  1. Project results
    –> raising awareness
  1. Measures implemented in the project
    –> raising awareness and disseminating best practices
  1. Effectiveness of the project
    –> further involvement of decision makers
  2. Erasmus+ programme and its opportunities
    –> wider utilisation of the Erasmus+ programme in the future

All the stakeholders in the project have crucial roles in the dissemination of the results in their target groups (Regional Sport Association of Kainuu, EOC, The Finnish Olympic Committee, University of Jyväskylä, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, The Finnish Coaches Association)

The Methods of disseminations are various; reports, Scientific research, Media camp material from different programmes, media, social media, presentations at various events, promotional material and website.