What’s Up: BeUnited@home Youth Camp
Despite restrictions across the globe still in place due to the COVID-9 pandemic, organisations continue their inspiring work despite the tough times, exemplified in this month’s What’s Up Student Column. While all eyes in the sports world should have been on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo right now, the current global pandemic resulted in a major change of plans for athletes, organisers and fans. Nevertheless, the sport family is still active.
On Saturday, July 25, the Sportsyouth NRW, an organisation for sport, volunteering and engagement based in the North Rhine-Westphalia region in Germany, showed how international, national and regional exchange in sport can continue. “We wanted to organise a live event in September, but with the current Corona situation, we decided to do an international online youth event,” explained Ms Sarah Fuchs, one of the main event organisers. Ms Fuchs and her team therefore searched for workshop instructors for webinars, entertainers for the cultural programme, hosts for the moderation and cooks for lunch and dinner.
“The people we worked with were very open and flexible. They’ve become used to online sessions in recent months. After so many days in quarantine, our young sportive members craved for their offers. We are very happy about the participation during the webinars,” she said.
The webinars were included in a cultural programme alongside various interesting talks on different topics. High performance athletes from Germany spoke about their current situation and the postponed Olympics before Mr Max Hartung, president of the German athletes association which fights for athlete’s rights, underlined the importance of engagement in sports and the need to stand up for their beliefs, especially in this time of the Black Lives Matter movement. During the event, a band created a professional TV-atmosphere with their songs live in the studio.
“Sometimes it was a bit weird to host an event on the stage without spectators, but all the people who worked with us did an awesome job. It was an amazing event and great to collect points of view from all over the planet,” underlined Mr Fabrice Sell, one of the hosts.
University sport was a big part of the event, too. EUSA Student and Media and Communication Commission member Mr Moritz Belmann organised video messages and live interviews with international student athletes and volunteers. During the day session of the webinar, the focus was on university sport in a few selected countries. In the evening, Mr Belmann interviewed Ms Celina Toth, Universiade gold medallist 2017 from Canada; Ms Hilda Luthersdottir, two-time Olympian from Iceland, and Ms Kristy Havill, a sports manager from New Zealand. All three were also participants at the FISU Young Leaders Academy 2018 in Kazan. “It was a privilege to call in from the other side of the world and share some thoughts from a New Zealand perspective. Sport unites the global population, so it’s crucial that we’re always communicating with and learning from each other,” said Ms Havill.
The whole event was streamed online, with a professional producing company making this possible. “It was an immense workload to think about the technical side of this event. Normally you think about workshop rooms, beds and catering. This year we had to speak about the production possibilities, internet streaming and camera position. It was a very exciting project,” said Ms Fuchs.
In the end, BeUnited@home was an experiment caused by worldwide pandemic, yet activities like this are demonstrating that international exchange and regional interaction is still possible.
The author Moritz Belmann is a member of the EUSA Student as well as Media & Communication Commissions; studied media development at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt and sport journalism and sport marketing at the University of Applied Sciences Mittweida, and is now studying at the University of Applied Sciences Department Police in Hessen.
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