Nelson Mandela once said that, “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” The youth and our future are linked with each other because the young ones project how we would be standing in the future, whether flimsy or firmly. They are the building-blocks of our nation. Hence, if they are positioned in a way that is good or useful, a vibrant, an exuberant, and a progressive future awaits us. This is supported by the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon: “I place great hope in the youth’s power to shape our future.” So it is just right to invest reasonably for the betterment of the youth’s overall well-being. If we invest on the development of the youth, we are as well investing on the future of society.
On the other hand, noting that the world now experiences a decline of youth’s participation to physical or social activities due to certain factors such as the emergence of social media sites which hinder them from going out of their enclaves and just let them develop a screen-to-screen relationship instead, their exposure to drugs and other vices, and also some of them who experience the melancholy brought by poverty and so they just resort to unlawful acts like stealing. With all these prevailing world issues the youth is facing right now, the need for programs to enhance their well-being is a must. Thriving to unleash the youth’s potential of creating change and sending good ripple effects in the future means providing them avenues to enhance their own potentials and capabilities. One of which is through sports programs.
Sport is essential for societal development. (Coalter, 2007 as cited in Rehal, 2015). That being said, the group believes that youth empowerment through sports programs is vital in enhancing the youth’s physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual state because it offers fun-play and challenging activities which trigger their critical thinking and inculcate the values of sportsmanship and cooperation.
NGOs and international organizations like Save the Children, UNICEF and the Red Cross also provide psychosocial support through sports. (deBerry, 2004 as cited in Rehal, 2015).
Thus, providing means or doors for the youth to engage in sports, the young ones would be detached from certain factors which affect the world negatively. The world would have a clearer vision of a brighter tomorrow anchored by the youth exposed to sports.
The countries which greatly utilize the potentials of their nation’s youth and perceive them as critical actors for change and progress are far more developed. One of which is the United States’ YMCA of Greater Cleveland Youth Sports program which fosters more than 6,000 youth each year. They provide these aspiring kids their very first experience with sports and teamwork and later on build young athletes by offering them a foundation for a lifetime. For more than 160 long years, the YMCA has been nurturing youth’s potential to sports, has been creating a non-competitive atmosphere among them, as well as cultivating the importance of cooperation, teamwork, sportsmanship, and camaraderie in each participant. Most importantly, it has eventually brought communities across America the capacity and the will to create a lasting and a meaningful change.
Along with this, the Foundation for Global Sports Development founded in 1994 has brought several good effects as they thrive to lead the sports community in delivering and supporting initiatives that advocate fair play, education, and most importantly, the physical and the developmental benefits of sports for the youth around the world. This foundation gives a life changing opportunity to select group of at-risk youth to attend the Olympic Games. They also give the youth from all over the world a chance to ponder on and to artistically express their thoughts on issues surrounding sport such as fair play, drug free competition, the Olympic spirit, etc. They also give recognition to those individuals and organizations that are taking the bigger steps in making sports a great force for positive change in our global society, while they provide sport opportunities for the world’s youth.
In local context, the Philippine administration urged top sports officials, particularly the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), to promote and strengthen sports programs nationwide. (Daily Tribune, 2018). In addition, the Get-Your-Child-into-Sports program aid of Milo’s Summer Sports Clinic offers young aspiring athletes with 18 different sports to choose from. They aim to develop kids to grow as champions in life by incorporating essential values such as discipline, teamwork, and confidence. With the program’s expert coaches who utilize modern and scientific approaches, surely, kids become champions on and off the court.
Also, these sports programs can help those who do not have the financial capability or means to go to school by training them to be the best young athletes they could ever be. There are several institutions giving athletic scholarships to those who are financially challenged but have an outstanding athletic ability. In fact, Alyssa Valdez, the two-time UAAP Women’s Volleyball champion, the three-time MVP, and now considered as the face of Philippine Volleyball, was granted a full athletic scholarship during her High School years and College years both by University of Santo Tomas (UST) and by Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), respectively.
With all the above-mentioned advocacies and programs, engaging in sports will give the youth an alternative to focus on something more productive and beneficial to them and to the community they belong to.
Therefore, the group, in partnership with an organizations named Girls Got Game and Camp & Play, which aims to empower kids from select communities by introducing them to sports and its accompanying benefits by means of physical, mental, emotional, and social trainings. Girls Got Game is an organization run by passionate athletes. This organization aims to equip pre-teen kids with an athlete’s mind and body to help them nurture and exceed their potentials. Also, the organization advocates the values of discipline, hard work, teamwork, confidence, and grit. Ultimately, the goal of the group and the Girls Got Game is to develop the kids from select communities holistically. With that, they hope to empower these kids through sports to grow as champions in life and to be able to contribute in alleviating the prevailing world issues the youth are facing and are prone to right now. Camp & Play is another organization that teaches boys and girls about basketball. The group chose volleyball, basketball, and football as the sports they would teach the kids. In addition, the fund will come from the partner organization and the group of students. This will only allotted for food and other expenses that may arise.
The youth of today are the instruments of tomorrow. If these young ones are nurtured and cultivated well enough to go beyond their skills and capabilities, rest assured that, our future would be bright and development and sustainability would come to our parade. By engaging them to sports, as young as they may be, they do not only live a life of fun and excitement with their teammates, they also improve their overall well-being while inculcating within their minds and their hearts the values of sportsmanship, discipline, and camaraderie. Aside from that, they turn away from issues usually linked to them such as excessive use of gadgets, use/abuse of drugs, and unlawful acts resulting from poverty, because they now have doors to open for their own benefit. Lastly, the kids who are financially challenged can resort to sports programs to actualize their athletic potential and so that later in life, they could go to the school they dreamt of through athletic scholarship or grants.