Youth Engagement Programme launched
Pictured: L to R are Joe, Amanda from the Guernsey 2023 Organising Committee, Calum, Caitlin, Amelie, and Katie
Primary school children in Guernsey are being encouraged to realise their full potential and live happier and healthier lives, with the launch of a programme for the NatWest International Island Games.
As part of this, a resource pack of Games-themed activities has been created by students at the Sixth Form Centre, and sent out to all States' primary schools, as well as schools on the other 23 member islands.
The youth engagement project links in with the primary curriculum, whilst also inspiring and exciting young people about sport in the lead-up to the Games. The aim is that every child in Guernsey should have the chance to understand the friendly values of the Games and feel the power of sport.
Around 3,000 athletes and team officials from 23 other islands will be heading to Guernsey to compete across 14 different sports from 8-14th July. The organisers believe the event is an important opportunity to expand horizons, encourage an increase in physical activity and exercise, and build island pride.
There are 20 activities that make up the 101-page youth engagement pack, including how to say hello in the languages of the different islands, matching different currencies and flags, medals maths, design a t-shirt for the puffin, guess the sport, and national anthems.
A team of students from the Sixth Form Centre researched and designed the activities, and then tested them out in a pilot at St Martin’s Primary School. Teacher Helen Watson guided the sixth formers through the project.
‘The students have thoroughly enjoyed putting the activities together,’ said Ms Watson.
‘As well as finding out information about the islands and researching the various activities, the students have also had to consider the learning objectives, outcomes and underlying educational outcomes whilst still making the activities fun and engaging.’
Emma Beardsell, deputy Games director is leading the youth engagement project.
‘We have been very impressed with the standard and quality of the work put together by the students’ said Ms Beardsell. ‘The content has been well researched, and the activities are varied and interesting and cover a wide range of topics and subjects. When we ran a trial session at St Martin’s Primary School, it was great to see the interaction between students at the end of their school career with the younger ones who are just starting theirs. We have now made the activities available to all States’ primary schools, as well as sending out the information to the other member islands. It is a great way of reaching out to the wider community and engaging with the other islands’.
Ms Beardsell said that sport can have a very positive impact on young people's lives.
‘It’s not just about elite performance, although obviously it’s great to encourage the next generation of Maya Le Tissiers and Ala Chalmers. It’s also about promoting the recreational and social joy of sport, the camaraderie, when you join a sports club you make friends for life, you find your tribe, and can develop a sporting habit for life.’
‘Being outside also enhances your mental health, and it allows you to make the most of what Guernsey has to offer because we do sport so well here. Post-Covid the word resilience gets used a lot, and I think sport is a great way of developing resilience. Being active helps our ability to cope with life’s challenges. So we want pupils to try something, give it a go, build self-esteem and confidence, and see where it leads.’
Students have already shown a huge amount of enthusiasm for the Games. Special interactive assemblies with guest appearances from Jet the puffin, the official Games mascot, have received rapturous responses. States schools will still be in term-time during the Games, but the hope is that pupils will encourage their families to go out and watch the evening events.
The motto of Guernsey 2023 is ‘inspiring islanders’, so for Ms Beardsell the key question is what happens beyond the Games.
‘It’s important that young people reap the long-term benefits of the Games. The event is six days of sporting spectacle, and as exciting as that will be, we want to make sure there is a lasting impact after the closing ceremony on 14th July. A vital part of that enduring impact is the opportunities for young people.’
As well as the youth engagement pack, the organising committee for the Games has been working with the Health Improvement Commission and the Sports Commission on several activities and projects linked to the Games. This includes an active travel plan, healthy eating, and sports-based activities. The upcoming Youth Games and school sports days will be Island Games-themed this year.
A number of work experience opportunities are also being made available to older students, including working with the Health Improvement Commission and a junior reporter programme which will give students the opportunity to learn journalism skills.
If any groups would like access to the Youth Engagement resources, please email us at email@example.com