Volunteers are active ambassadors of acceptance and solidarity in Athens
One of the largest and most inspiring volunteering event of 2011 took place in the framework of Special Olympics World Summer Games ATHENS 2011 from June 20 to July 4 hosting 7,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 25,000 volunteers from all over the world. Special Olympics is based upon the idea of volunteerism as volunteers have been the cornerstone to develop the movement in 180 countries and regions worldwide. Special Olympics serve as an effective catalyst for a social change towards understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disability.
From June 10 until July 10, 100 young European citizens, aged 18-30 years old offered volunteer service to Special Olympics World Summer Games ATHENS 2011. Their participation was supported by the European Commission within the framework of Action 2 of Youth in Action Programme (EVS, European Voluntary Service).
The young volunteers came mainly from member organizations of the "Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations" from Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom. They contributed to the success of the event and supported the Special Olympics athletes in the sport venues as well as in the non-sport sites. On every occasion they promoted the goals of IYV+10 and the European Year of Volunteering 2011. Above all, volunteers were active ambassadors of hope, acceptance, solidarity and of the transforming effect volunteerism can have in society.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games
The Special Olympics World Summer Games were held from the 20th of June till the 4th of July 2011 in Athens. More than 10.000 Special Olympisc Athletes -individuals with intellectual disability- coming from 185 countries around the world joined this world class sport event and competed in 22 Olympic type sports. 25.000 inspired and talented volunteers from Greece, Europe and 19 countries worldwide joined the Special Olympics Volunteer Program desinged to offer a life changing experience to all participants. Scouting and Guiding Associations as well as the NSGF of Greece signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Organizing Commitee of the Special Olympics World Games and supported the Volunteers Program, undertaking volunteer service positions during the Games. Our members gained a unique experience, shared their enthousiasm and celebrated inclusion, understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilty.
The European Athletics Young Leaders CommunityENGSO (European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation) is the representative of the sport sector in the Alliance. ENGSO's partner European Athletics has created the European Athletics Young Leaders Community, a unique on-line space for active young people interested in athletics, developing their skills, community service and making new friends. The aim is to use modern communications and social network tools to encourage volunteer activity that helps to promote both athletics and local community service and in the process helps to prepare the sport's next generation of leaders. The community is driven by ideas and input from its members with support from European Athletics, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the national athletics federations in the 50 countries of Europe.
The main forms of activity are 1) volunteer work for Young Leaders Community partners (athletics events, clubs, schools and other sport-related organisations) and 2) projects to promote sport, fitness and physical education that are designed and implemented by our members. European Athletics and UNESCO will also host biannual live gatherings for community members to meet, exchange views and develop their leadership skills. The next gathering takes place in conjunction with the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland, in June 2012.
Certificates of recognition from European Athletics and UNESCO are awarded to community members who register significant hours of volunteer work (Bronze Certificate = 100 hours, Silver Certificate = 250 hours, Gold Certificate = 500 hours). In its first year of operation the Young Leaders Community attracted more than 1000 members who registered more than 12,000 hours of volunteer work.
For more information visit www.athleticscommunity.org
ENGSO Hearing “Sport Volunteers: Promoting an Active Europe”
ENGSO Hearing "Sport Volunteers: Promoting an Active Europe" discussed the importance of volunteering for the sports movement. Hearing brought together MEP's and representatives of the sport organisations to share their views on policies enabling volunteering, and challenges and solutions of volunteering. It was organised in the context of the 14th ENGSO Forum in Brussels at the European Parliament on 13th October and hosted by Slovakian MEP Katarina Nevedalova (S&D). In the discussions MEP Hannu Takkula (ALDE) from Finland highlighted the EU's role to promote the exchange of best practice examples in the field of sport. In the second part of the Hearing "Challenges and Solutions" British MEP Emma McClarkin (ECR) was worried about the issues that makes it more difficult to volunteer, e.g. bureaucracy and lack of spare time. However, she concluded her opinion on importance of volunteering: "Volunteers are not paid, not because they don't deserve it but because they are priceless." ENGSO President Birgitta Kervinen, President of the Swedish Sport Confederation Karin Mattson Weijberg and Martijn Pakker from the European Volunteer Center also took the floor and contributed to the discussions.
More information on ENGSO website.
ENGSO Adopts a Position Paper on Volunteering
On 9 July, the Executive Committee of ENGSO adopted a position paper on volunteering. In the statement, ENGSO underlines that the European Union should develop European cooperation to promote volunteering through recommendations, relevant EU programmes and enabling visa practices. ENGSO also supports the development and recognition of the skills and competences of volunteers. According to ENGSO, the EU should also aim at decreasing administrative burdens of volunteers and voluntary sports organisations, minimising the unintended harmful consequences that European legislation can have on volunteering, and ensuring the sustainable financing of non-profit voluntary sports organisations.
More information and the position paper available on ENGSO Website.
Council conclusions on the role of voluntary activities in sport in promoting active citizenship, 3128th EDUCATION, YOUTH, CULTURE and SPORT Council meeting, Brussels, 28 and 29 November 2011.
The council conclusions on 'the role of voluntary activities in sport in promoting active citizenship' adopted on 29 November 2011 underlines the fact that voluntary activities in sport are among the most attractive forms of engagement in Europe and belongs to the social heritage of sport. Voluntary activities in sport contribute to active citizenship, to the growth and strengthening of social capital, to the mobility of citizens through building competences as well as developing the European identity and promoting EU values. The conclusions also stress that voluntary activities need to be clearly distinguished from paid employment and cannot replace the overall responsibility of the state. The council of the European Union encourages EU Member states, the European Commission and sport stakeholders to create favourable conditions and ensure the development of voluntary activities in sport
Volunteering in sport: trends, opportunities and challenges
ISCA - International Sport and Culture Association introduces a special issue of scientific journal that was developed in partnership with the Sport and Citizenship, partners of the EuroVolNet project and the support of the European Commission.
The European Year of Volunteering Dream Team - An ENGSO Youth reflection on 2011: Volunteering, Sports and Non-Formal EducationLet's imagine a Europe where all young people actively participate in and physically contribute to society. Would this not just be the Dream Team European Volunteer Culture, in a healthy mind and body?
Let us take a look at reality...
Sport (the environment, the context): In the world of sport, on the mass participation club level; sport does not exist without volunteers. This is not just a statement, it is fact. Whether it is a young person becoming an assistant coach, refereeing the younger group's games, whether, it is parents coaching sessions, parents driving their children to games, all the way to decision makers in the field; they are for the majority volunteers.
The individual (you, us): Although volunteering is often considered as a "selfless activity" which promotes good for others and its surrounding community it cannot be neglected that individuals often volunteer because the opportunity lies in front of them (they are asked), this is often followed by a realisation that they can make a difference, they can contribute, they have a role. This experience in turn, often leads to the realisation that not only do they have a sense of belonging and contribute they in turn also benefit by learning, developing skills, experience etc...
Here volunteering benefits the individual on two levels: the individual self and the surrounding local reality. We have active participation, we have physical activity, we have volunteering, what we are missing is, the European dimension, the exchange of these diverse experiences from which we can learn and transfer ideas, what we are also missing is spreading this movement further... How can this self-sufficient pool of young volunteers benefit Europe? How can it be taken further? How can the potential for education which is already present in the trans-generational system of volunteering, taking on responsibilities be pushed further? Can the experience of these various young individuals make an even greater difference? In volunteering eventhough we learn a lot and are possibly empowered in and through this role and experience, we may not necessarily see any further, how this can apply to another field, how we can take it further, how we as an individual can make a difference...
Looking at Youth for youth by youth solutions;
To develop more volunteers using all volunteers? Yes.
In using Sport as a tool to reach out and attract? Yes.
With a vision of Education? Yes.
On European level? Yes.
Using Non-Formal Education? Definitely.
European youth exchanges and trainings offer this opportunity and possibility requires even more volunteering, commitment, energy, engagement, motivation from the volunteers. This year ENGSO Youth with the support of the EYCB (European Youth Centre Budapest) of the Council of Europe, to focus on bringing together young individuals involved in inclusion of people with and without disabilities in and through sports. This session was led by volunteers, the participants were either volunteers or working with volunteers in their local reality, and for this entire week they were volunteering their time. For their own development, in order for them to go back and have a wider impact in their local reality through their engagement in providing access in and through sports...and empowered they were, and ideas they created and multipliers they have become. It has now been two weeks since the end of the session and already a publication for other leaders is coming out, they have already planned another 4 meetings, applied for funds for another European exchange and all this as volunteers.
Our "last event" for 2011 during this European Year of Volunteering has taught us the close relation and the motivations between; education, for youth, by youth, with youth in short, peer education and volunteering.
Sport is attractive to numerous groups possibly inaccessible otherwise, through this combined with volunteering peer education, we can empower youth and make a difference towards the creation of the "Dream Team European Volunteer Culture", in a healthy mind and body.
Karine Teow, ENGSO Youth Vice Chair
To find out more about ENGSO Youth activities, visit our website http://www.youth-sport.net
Volunteer Academy Kazan, RussiaExecutive Committee Kazan 2013 organized the camp for volunteers on 20th-24th September 2011 in Kazan, Russia in the cooperation with the Ministry of Sports, Tourism and the Youth Policy of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Tourism of the Tatarstan.
ENGSO Youth representatives, Natasa Jankovic and Damir Stajner, took active part in the Volunteer Camp as guest speakers during lectures and workshops on the following topics: "Communication and Motivation as important elements of the Volunteer Management process"; "How cultural and sport events influence on the development of volunteering" and "Recruitment and Selection of volunteers for major sport events".
Around 500 participants took part in the International youth volunteers camp "Volunteer Academy" which took place in the Universiade Village in Kazan. Participants on the Camp were young volunteers from all over Russia as well as from Europe.
The purpose of the camp was to gain together young people who are actively involved in volunteering and have experience in the field of international communication. Volunteers were given the opportunity to work with the representatives of the Executive Committee of XXVII World Summer Kazan Universiade 2013, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Tourism of Tatarstan, the members of the State Duma of Russian Federation and famous athletes. The educational program of the Volunteer Academy helped young people to get necessary knowledge and skills of how to involve, train and select volunteers for Universiade 2013 as well as to learn Russian and Tatar culture and traditions.
27th World University Summer Games will be held in 2013 in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. Universiade is the second major sport event after Olympics. Therefore, in order to provide successful organization of Universiade 2013, 20.000 qualified volunteers have to be recruited. The preparation for the Universiade 2013 in Kazan is gathering pace, the number of volunteers involved in projects is growing.
For more information abouth the volunteering opportunities visit the official website http://kazan2013.com