OVEP Initiatives

France / Olympic Youth Camp

France
Summary

Each year since 2006, the CNOSF, helped by the French National Olympic Academy and national education authorities, have set up a special event, the "Olympic Youth Camp".

For six days, pupils aged from 10 to 12 live in a group, having a very rich communal experience. They benefit from an intense programme which enables them to discover the values of sport and their application in life. Numerous activities are available to them in the areas of physical education, science, arts and culture. The pupils thus have the opportunity to develop their social, scientific and linguistic competences, while absorbing the values that are the basis of  the Olympic ideal.

This programme is developed on a national level and is organised each year in a different region. The pupils therefore also have the opportunity to discover the customs, history, fauna and natural resources of the host region.

Since 2008, the programme has been organised alternatively in summer and winter, just like the Olympic Games. Participation is free.

This residential camp is preceded by an important preparatory phase implemented by volunteer teachers: awareness actions are undertaken for six months in order to enable the pupils to make the most of their experience during the camp.

Educational objectives

• To promote Olympism as an educational tool
• To disseminate the Olympic values
• To increase young people's awareness of the benefits of practising sport

Approach

The programme is structured in two phases.
Firstly, awareness activities are undertaken in schools, enabling classes to discover the values of sport and Olympism during the school year. The teachers receive educational tools adapted to the age of their pupils, enabling them to prepare and organise their class's participation in the Olympic Youth Camp.

The pupils form teams and choose a name. They create their own symbol, representing it on a flag, and nominate a flag-bearer. They also prepare a presentation which will enable them to share their local or regional culture with the other participants during the camp.

Secondly, the pupils meet for five days in the framework of the camp; this is organised every year in a different region of France.

For a whole week, the pupils can participate in :

• Physical activities including both individual and group exercises
• Paralympic activities, enabling them to understand the difficulties faced by people with handicaps
• Activities aimed at developing specific social and personal competences: oral expression, body awareness, respect of rules and communal life, for example
• Scientific activities, during which the pupils can learn to observe, question, form a hypothesis, debate, etc.
• Cultural and artistic activities, with the emphasis on creating a group identity and expressing the Olympic values through art
• Workshops enabling the pupils to discover the fauna, nature and history of the host region.

The exercises proposed are developed jointly by the Olympic institutions and the educational authorities; as such, they have a close link with the school programmes and cover a whole series of different branches (mother tongue, foreign languages, maths, etc.)

Specific material has been created for the volunteer teachers: educational folders, themed files, audio-visual material, an exhibition and a cartoon strip.

Results
The programme was launched in 2006. the Olympic Youth Camp has been held alternatively in winter in 2008 and 2011.

Since its launch, the Olympic Youth Camp has been very successful. After hosting 32 participants for its first edition in 2006, this project has been welcoming an average of 100 participants since 2007.

Reports by the pupils and teachers show that this experience of communal life is an important moment for all the participants. Children return amazed about this week, especially about scientific activities and the little Olympics of the last day. Teachers support this Olympic week brings a team spirit in the class. It enables them to get to know better their pupils. It also gives schools, the opportunity to create links with local sport clubs, political institutions, and between the Olympic Movement and the Ministry of Education as well. 

Practical advice

As a tool for disseminating culture, sport has the advantage of involving the various places of education. At school, it concerns all the disciplines. Around school and outside, an immense club sport network enables everyone to fulfil themselves.

It was on this basis that the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) decided to develop an Culture and Education Programme; the Olympic Youth Camp is one of the actions in this programme.

Implementing this project is based on two key phases:

• An awareness-building phase: discovery of Olympism and the Olympic Games, mobilisation of educational material on Olympism within the school context, understanding of the universal values of sport and Olympism in line with the programmes and with the educator’s pedagogical objectives.

• A unification phase: all the classes taking part in the project come together for a week.

Each time, the venue chosen to hold the Olympic Camp offers unity of place and time for accommodation and activities. The supervisory team is composed of sports event organisers and members of the organisational team.

It is important that this gathering be largely based on the Olympic philosophy of linking education and sports practice. To this end, it offers both physical activities and science discovery activities, creative activities or activities to learn about the Olympic values.

Downloads and useful links

Discover the Youth Olympic Camp through the Supplement to n°137 (March/April 2008) of the Eps1 review.

Discover the educational material specially created for the Olympic Youth Camp directly on the Comité National Olympique et Sportif Français (CNOSF) web site.

Link for the presentation of the concept « Olympic Youth Camp » and the various editions since 2006 :
http://www.franceolympique.com/cat/134-camp_olympique_de_la_jeunesse.html

Link for the actions of the Culture and Education Pole: the documents, the National Olympic Youth Camp, the collaborations for the Olympic Day and The Youth Olympic Games, the connection with the French National Olympic Academy :
http://www.franceolympique.com/cat/39-culture_et_education.html

PDF to download (only available in French version):
camp_olympique France.pdf

Copyright :
Material free for non commercial purposes

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