Young leaders urged to shape the future of athletics | 06.07.2012
Speaking after the close of the four-day forum in Helsinki, Milz said: “This group is very important for the future of athletics and together with their networks of contacts they must shape the sport with their innovative ideas and their voluntary work.
“Through the forum and our Athletics Community website we have given them some valuable tools, now we hope to see what kind of a difference they can make as leaders at home in the coming months and years.”
Sixty-eight representatives between 18 and 26 years old from 47 European Athletics Member Federations attended the forum, which took place from 25-28 June and was staged by European Athletics and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with support from the local organising committee of the 2012 European Athletics Championships in Helsinki.
The forum programme featured presentations of project ideas, panel discussions and workshops on practical aspects of project planning and management. Each of the workshop groups prepared a sample project and these were shared with the entire forum.
The presentations can downloaded from the Young Leaders Forum page here.
At the opening session, held at the headquarters of YLE, the Finnish national broadcasting company, the keynote presentation on the theme ‘Sport, Peace and Development’ was given by Mrs Tuija Talvitie, the Executive Director of the Finnish non-governmental organisation Crisis Management Initiative.
The participants were also integrated into the Opening Ceremony of the Championships in Helsinki’s Senate Square, carrying the flags of their countries as their national teams were introduced.
The remainder of the forum activities took place in the idyllic lakeside surroundings of the Kisakallio Sports Institute outside Helsinki. After the daily working sessions, the participants were transported to the city centre for the evening sessions of the Championships in the Olympic Stadium.
Among the main programme speakers was the 2005 world pole vault champion Rens Blom, who described his own project to develop an elite training centre in the Netherlands.
The participants prepared for the forum by creating displays about their own projects, which were shown in an exhibition at Kisakallio throughout the forum. The best displays were selected by a vote of all the participants and prizes were awarded by the Championship sponsor Samsung.
At the end of the forum the participants unanimously approved a final report, which included recommendations for young leaders, UNESCO and European Athletics.
To see the report click here.
“All the feedback from the participants is telling us that the forum was an outstanding success,” said Milz. “We are thankful to the Helsinki 2012 LOC and UNESCO for all their help in producing such a worthwhile event.
“This project highlights how we in athletics are working on new ways to deliver on our ‘Your Sport for Life’ promise by adding value to young people’s lives in different areas such as health & fitness, informal education and social networking.”
After the forum the participants will continue their cooperation wherever they are through an innovative online community created by European Athletics to promote projects and volunteer work in the sport. The community, which already has more than 1,300 members from across Europe and 100 registered projects, offers certificates of recognition from European Athletics and UNESCO to members who register the hours they contribute to athletics.
To learn more and join the community click here.
European Athletics and UNESCO signed a partnership agreement in July 2006 and since then have cooperated on a number of promotional, youth and anti-doping projects.
To learn more about UNESCO's work in the area of Youth click here or in the area of Sport click here.