Background to the programme
The Sports and Gymnastics Work Federation (FSGT) observed that certain young people between the ages of 16 and 25, due to academic failure at school or severe social difficulties, are far removed from the world of work and all of the training opportunities which would enable them to envisage work or training in the future.
Conceived in 2010 during a meeting between the local youth centre of the City of Pau and FSGT and made into a reality through their work in the working class environment, this experiment tries to re-engage disconnected youth through sports activities.
Objectives of the programme
- To enable young people who have broken away from the academic system and the professional environment to regain confidence in themselves and to facilitate access to various common rights (training, education, employment)
- To offer young people the opportunity to gradually resume societal rhythms
- Give young people a taste for putting in effort, self-respect and respect for others through sporting and physical activities which are both individual and collective
- Enable the young people who have difficulty with written and oral expression to regain a taste for writing and reading through a fun and interactive approach based on new educational methods
- To facilitate the discovery of the worlds of business and work.
- The young people, who have completely dropped out of school, are guided by the local youth centre (60%), by Judicial Youth Protection (PJJ) or by children's home.
- The diagnostic evaluation provides an report and should enable the identification of each young person's strengths on which to base any new learning and also the weaknesses and signs of the difficulties they face. Pedagogical assessments are appraisal updates that measure the progress of the young person. Finally, a final evaluation is made at the end of each course to draw up an assessment which enables some perspective on the individual project.
- Young people come every morning (Monday to Friday) from 9:30 to 12:30 for group activities and individual support is offered to them in the afternoons.
- Activities offered to the youth:
-> Sport and Physical Activities to: re-engage the body and its rhythms, develop self-esteem, a healthy lifestyle, surpass oneself and put effort into learning
-> Expression in the "theatre forum" to free up speech and the body, and to enrich verbal and physical language
-> Artistic and practical expression to unleash creativity, to build self-esteem, to bring out tendencies and sources of interest
-> Relationship to the world of work through positive education to discover, become involved and throw themselves into a professional project
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
- 39 students have been welcomed by the program since September 2013.
- Almost 100% of young people stay until the end of the minimum period of 3 months and come every morning. Only four young people have stopped because they were living at the centre and then moved house or changed their foster family. Young people stay for an average of four months and a half.
- At the end of 3 months, 90% of young people have resumed contact with the local youth centre (understand that 60% are sent by the youth centre but do not always have regular contact with their counsellor)
- 10% of young people re-enter school (they are between 16 and 17 years old).
- Informal Evaluations made with young people, with games, questions ... The young people feel confident and feel included.
The approach is based entirely on sports and games. Young people learn without realising it and do not feel judged. The fact that the activities are carried out by volunteers shows them that people take time out for them (unpaid). They do not have the same relationship with them as their teacher or counsellor at the local youth centre ... Volunteers do not ask them questions about their problems, they are there to supervise them in an activity.
Moreover, the program builds on the skills of young people: every young person is at one time a human resource for the group. For example, a youth who is passionate about history and geography leads visits to Pau. Thus, they learn what they can do for others, including adults, which highlights their abilities.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
- The Local Youth Centre of Pau, the Judicial Protection of Youth and Children's Homes send young people
- 2 sports clubs affiliated to FSGT provide materials and lend equipment
- Social centres, Youth and Culture Centres, neighbourhood clubs ... are part of the observation network that allows the coordinator to be aware of what is happening in Pau.
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- Unpredictability of volunteers: a volunteer may take a holiday and therefore can not supervise the activities
- It's difficult to find volunteers as one has to commit one morning every week. Therefore the majority of them are retired or job seekers.
- Some young people arrive as it's going along and others leave. The new ones must be welcomed while ensuring that the others are still interested.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- Try to engage other volunteers to do the activities or the coordinator provides supervision of certain activities by offering other types (for which they do not need to have a coaching diploma) such as hiking, team games ... while maintaining some continuity.
- Recruitment of volunteers through word of mouth. The public can be difficult, it takes a small amount of pedagogy to supervise the activities that they do not necessarily posses. It is better to not always have enough volunteers but rather they correspond to the profile searched for and they get along well with young people and between themselves instead of having many volunteers who aren't always competent.
- Young people organise themselves on a "new" person's first day, they take them on a visit of the centre and explain how it works. The coordinator is careful not to be too welcoming to a new arrival at the same time so as not to disturb the group.
Suggestions for future improvement :
- It would be nice to hire another employee, or host STAPS students as the coordinator currently can not be away from the activities to organise the network.
- Find a location that is more suitable
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- Support from the federal work of FSGT in a low income environment in order to produce a shared assessment, the project write-up, the development of the network, the program of activities and to look for funding for the employment of the local coordinator
- A motivated project leader, sufficiently well known in the local social network
- Formalise the partnerships: for example, identify the structures that send young people
- Have an employee to coordinate the project and take care of administrative tasks: purchasing, coordination ...
- Formalise the exchanges between volunteers and young people (once a month)
- The activities offered to the young people are fun and different from those that are usually offered to young people.
- The young people are taken as they are and the coordinator and volunteers take into account what they say.
- Shared coordination between the local, regional and national FSGT associations
Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :
Research around: Sport and social ties, what enables the long term engagement of action that integrates through sport in a territory and what encourages the participation of all the actors concerned?
To know more
- Sport and outdoor Review FSGT
- Work in the working class environments FSGT Pantin