Celebrating youth voices in activity this International Youth Day!

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As International Youth Day approaches, it is time to recognise and celebrate the immense potential that lies within the young voices of the sports industry. We hear why this can help you be fit for the future, from the Alliance’s Serena Mahandru.

In a rapidly changing world, the significance of youth voices in every sector cannot be overstated, and the sports industry is no exception. Young people represent the future of the sports world, and their perspectives, ideas, and experiences are invaluable assets in shaping the industry's trajectory.

Contrary to the outdated belief that experience is solely related to age, empowering youth within the sports sector opens new possibilities, fosters innovation, and ensures a sustainable future for the industry.

Unified Action Changemakers Panel

As the Governance Officer at Sport and Recreation Alliance, I have the pleasure of being part of the Unified Action Changemakers Panel, a youth panel set up by the Youth Sport Trust, Sporting Equals and 2-3 Degrees. We met up for the first time earlier this month in Loughborough.

The primary objective of this panel is to provide a platform for young individuals to share their experiences and insights, design guidance, and make tangible changes within National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and the broader sports sector.

By understanding the barriers that young people face in decision-making roles in sports, the panel seeks to break down those barriers and open doors for youth engagement and empowerment.

The panel strives to create a clear and accessible pathway for young people to step into governance roles within sports organisations. By offering training, mentorship, and support, the panel encourages young individuals to take up leadership positions and contribute to decision-making processes.

The panel advocates for a strong and effective youth voice in sports governance. It emphasises the importance of not merely token representation but meaningful participation. To support young people in governance roles, the panel is developing a comprehensive framework and guidance document that outlines best practices.

This document will serve as a valuable resource for sports organisations to foster an inclusive culture and ensure young people thrive in their governance roles.

Ultimately, the panel intends to drive tangible change in various sporting bodies by developing action plans and advocating for positive action through the power of youth voices.

Good Practice Examples

Three Alliance members exemplifying the recognition of the power of youth voices and creating youth representatives are the CIMSPA Youth Panel, the Youth Sport Trust Youth Board, and the Access Sport Youth Board.

These organisations actively involve young people in decision-making processes, empowering them to shape the future of the sports industry.

The CIMSPA Youth Panel bridges the gap between the sports sector and the younger generation, fostering inclusivity and diversity.

The Youth Sport Trust Youth Board enables young sports enthusiasts to contribute to the charity's strategies and initiatives, acknowledging the significance of youth voices in driving positive social impact through sports.

Meanwhile, the Access Sport Youth Board embodies youth empowerment, allowing young individuals to shape projects and initiatives that address diverse needs and aspirations, promoting inclusivity, diversity, and social change in the realm of sports.

Hear from CIMSPA Youth Panel Member, Georgia Townsend, who talks about what inspired her to join a Youth Panel, what the biggest obstacles are for young people wanting to pursue a career in the sport industry and her advice on what National Governing Bodies can do to include youth representation.

If you have been inspired this International Youth Day and your organisation is interested in creating a Youth Board or Youth Panel, please speak to us at governance@sportandrecreation.org.uk or smahandru@sportandrecreation.org.uk