Tag Archives: International Sport and Culture

European Youth and Sport Forum 2012 Debriefing

21 Dec

To follow up on Rebekah’s post about Doc Wayne’s recognition at the European Youth and Sport Forum 2012 (EYSF 2012), I would like to take the opportunity to share my reflections and impressions about the event after returning home and digesting the experience. Although I am a new intern with Doc Wayne, circumstances were such that I had the privilege of representing the organization at this event held the last week of November in Larnaca, Cyprus. As Rebekah indicated, the forum was organized with the support of the European Commission and the European Youth Foundation as well as the International Sport and Culture Association (a global rather than Europe-wide organization) and the European Non-Governmental Sports Organization. Although such a laundry list of partners might seem a bit convoluted, it emphasizes the fact that a profound interest exists in sport-based youth development among a wide variety of influential, high-level stakeholders.

Looking back on an exciting week, I bring two main realizations home with me that should help “fill the tank” of Doc Wayners moving forward. Firstly, attending this forum emphasized the fact that Doc Wayne is in good global company when it comes to recognizing and acting on the the power of sport as a vehicle for positive change in the lives of young people. It was energizing to meet and interact with the representatives of diverse organizations from more than 20 countries including university ‘sport & development’ programs, non-profit and non-governmental organizations who are working in so many different ways to do their own good in diverse local and national contexts. While many of these groups and programs face the same practical challenges and limitations that Doc Wayne does, we should all take heart from understanding that belief in the power of sport and physical activity in contributing to the healthy, holistic development of young people has never been stronger or more widespread and that it is growing more so everyday.

Secondly, while we at Doc Wayne should internalize this sense of solidarity drawn from EYSF 2012, an even more relevant take-away should be confirmation of the unique and innovative contribution that Doc Wayne makes to sports-based youth development. As Rebekah has indicated, Doc Wayne’s “Do the Good” curriculum was short-listed among best practices from more than 60 different organizations represented at the forum. In point of fact, the “Do the Good” curriculum was, to the knowledge of the organizers, the first practice originating outside of Europe to ever be included in the best practice compilation in the 10 year history of the EYSF. In this sense, Doc Wayne is breaking new ground on far-off shores! Moreover, my discussions while at the forum about the work of Doc Wayne never failed to elicit responses of profound interest, admiration and respect even among other SBYD organization representatives.

To close, I wish there was a way to vicariously impart the energy I gained for our work and our cause while in Cyprus to everyone involved with Doc Wayne. However, it bares noting that no matter how nice best practice sharing and networking are, they are inconsequential when weighed against the tangible impact being had in gyms and on playing fields in the Doc Wayne network. Upon returning home from the forum, I went immediately to my first Doc Wayne training at Germaine Lawrence in Arlington. As the palm trees and press releases of Cyprus faded away, I realized that I have never been more satisfied to be in a low-key, unassuming gym because my travels half-way around the world have taught me that it is in such places that real change truly lives.