How many sport organisations have a Youth Committee? ENGSO Youth in Action recap

Youth participation in shaping sport organisations is vital for democratic societies. While young people actively engage in sports, they lack meaningful roles in decision-making within these organisations. Addressing this disparity is crucial for a more inclusive and diverse sports community.

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From 8 to 12 of May 2024, 30 young leaders from all over Europe participated in the ‘Youth in Action’ international activity, which was organised by ENGSO Youth, funded by the Council of Europe through the European Youth Foundation and took place in Nicosia-Larnaca, Cyprus. 


While the long-term objective of the Youth in Action programme is to increase youth participation and representation in sport organisations decision-making bodies, the goal of the programme’s first activity was to map existing youth participation programmes and develop strategies and mechanisms for youth participation in sport organisations at all levels; from local sports NGOs to European Sport Federations. 


Let’s have a look at the recap of the Youth in Action programme:

Day 1: Sometimes you have to shake the table


Youth in Action kicked off with team-building sports activities which introduced ENGSO Youth and the importance of inclusion and collaboration. ⁠


“Youthless policy is useless policy” was the motto of the second half of the day. We were joined by Christiana Xenofontos,  Vice President of the European Youth Forum, and Christina Yiannapi, Secretary General of Cyprus Youth Council and a member of the Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth, who introduced their work at the national and European levels (within both organisations), including Christiana’s new election campaign aiming to become a member of the European Parliament.

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Day 2: Do young people have space, opportunity and support for youth participation in sport organisations?


On day two of the Youth in Action international activity we continued with the topic of youth participation based on a human rights-based approach. We spoke about sport governance and discussed the necessary conditions of good transparent and representative sport governance aligned with the topic of youth participation mechanisms and programmes. Each participant shared their experience on youth participation within the organisations they engage with. ⁠

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Day 3: Field visit to Nicosia! 


Day three kicked off with outdoor and indoor sessions putting advocacy on the table. We discussed how advocacy works, what tools and mechanisms are available and what strategies could work to efficiently and meaningfully advocating for Youth participation in decision-making processes. ⁠ ⁠ 


In the afternoon, we visited the Home for Cooperation, in Nicosia, to meet Stephanie and her organisation, United Sports Cyprus. Stephanie presented United Sport Cyprus work and role in uniting different communities, Cypriot,  Greek, Turkish… with the aim of promoting unity, dialogue and long-lasting peace by using sport as a tool. ⁠

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Day 4: Hands to work


Day four was dedicated to strategising and developing meaningful mechanisms for youth participation within different levels of sport organisations. Divided into groups, participants focused on designing systems and mechanisms that would open space for young people to contribute to sport organisations as decision-makers. ⁠


During the afternoon, the cultural activities ensured all participants exchanged traditions and customs through food, dance and intercultural exchange. ⁠

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Day 5: New strategies developed!⁠ ⁠ 


The learnings and experiences the participants have gained over the past four days were put into practice with the aim to develop youth participation strategies and mechanism at different levels of sport governance, from National Sport NGOs to European Sport Federations. 


The ideas and strategies were presented during the last session which wrapped up and concluded the “Youth in Action” international activity. ⁠ ⁠

We would like to thank all participants that took part in this activity and added their valuable contribution to increasing and improving the youth participation within sport organisations in Europe. ⁠Special thanks also to Christiana, Christina and Stefanie for the warm welcome and for joining us as guest speakers. 


What’s next? We will meet decision-makers in the ENGSO General Assembly on 13-14 June in Vienna, Austria, where we will lead a workshop on Youth participation mechanisms for ENGSO member organisations with the long-term aim of supporting them in establishing youth participation mechanisms in their realities.


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