What's up: Reflecting on the Youth Ideas Labs 2022
As part of the Healthy Lifestyle For All campaign, the European Commission launched Youth Ideas Labs in spring this year, enhancing the #HealthyLifestyle4All and #BeActive campaigns, and also highlighting the importance of youth in the European Year of Youth.
European University Sports Association (EUSA) was one of the invited organisations to nominate youth representatives, who presented their ideas at the EU Sport Forum in Lille in June, as well as at the events related to the Opening of the European Week of Sport in Prague in September. The group also met in August for a working meeting in Brussels.
EUSA nominated the youth delegates also as ambassadors of the HealthyLifestyle4All directly, and also in cooperation with the European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF) and the European Athlete as Student (EAS) – Dual Career Network; and also had its Communications and Project Manager as one of the facilitators.
EUSA nominated delegates that took part in at least one of the in-person events (in alphabetical order): Carolina Sousa E Sa (Portugal/Scotland), Conor Oisin Kavanagh (Ireland), Federico Palumbo (Italy), Filipa Godinho (Portugal), Flobena Nikolli (Albania), Leonardo Mikac (Croatia), Marianna Pikul (Poland), Mariano Carcatella (Italy/Slovenia), Sara Gaspar (Hungary) and Zrinka Tabain (Croatia/Denmark).
We asked two of our ambassadors to share their feedback from the initiative:
Marianna Pikul (AZS - Poland):
Being part of the HealthyLifestyle4All has been a great experience – both on the professional level as well as the personal one. It is very unique, that we could work in a group of people coming from many different countries on the same –very important for all – topic. It is an initiative that allows young people to have their say on the meaningful subject, such as a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, I felt that we had the freedom to explore and come up with initiatives that will be heard – and they were, on a few occasions.
As a group, we took part both in Sport Forum in Lille in June, as well as in European Week of Sport in Prague in September. On both occasions, we could present our ideas. Additionally, we met in Brussels to work on the initiative as well as meet with representatives of the European Commission. Except for the exchange of ideas and work on the presentations, it has been a great chance to meet people from all over Europe – we had time to integrate and become friends, which is for sure a big added value to the experience.
Mariano Carcatella (EUSA - Italy/Slovenia):
Youth Ideas Labs was a great opportunity to meet young people with the same interest, improve society through sport. More initiatives like this should be promoted in Europe. I have always done sport in my life and it was really rewarding to participate in this initiative and express my concerns and solutions to increase physical activity. Together with my group, we have chosen the topic regarding the increase of recreational sports, especially at an early age. Too many young leave sports because they feel the pressure to reach results at every cost, and this should be absolutely avoided.
Furthermore, I really believe it is important to point out the importance nowadays of mental health. In this Social Media generation, the young have wrong ideals of perfection, which can easily bring to feel depressed. Our role is to communicate that to be healthy does not mean having abdominals or going every day to the gym. For having a healthy lifestyle, it is enough to do 30 minutes of physical activity every day or just try to walk every day. This, along with eating good food and having a regenerating rest means having a healthy lifestyle.
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