IOC celebrates second successful year for its Young Change-Makers+ (YCM+) Programme
The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) team of young social entrepreneurs used sport to deliver 17 life-changing projects worldwide last year, and the aim is to double this for 2018.
The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) team of young social entrepreneurs used sport to deliver 17 life-changing projects worldwide last year, and the aim is to double this for 2018.
The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) have always been about much more than athletic competition, and last year YCMs+ from as far afield as Zambia, Canada, Colombia and Estonia underlined the IOC's wider commitment to the younger generation with a series of ambitious community-based schemes.
The 17 ground-breaking initiatives in 2017 – which all successfully received funding of up to 5,000 Swiss francs from the IOC – included a sports initiation programme aimed at promoting peace in Colombia, a judo weekend for young girls in Estonia and an inclusive sports event aimed at empowering young disabled athletes in Botswana.
"The YCMs+ continue to impress, amaze and inspire us with their passion and commitment to making the world a better place through sport," said Philippe Furrer, Head of YOG Engagement Learn & Share.
"They belong to a generation who refuse to sit idly by and watch from the sidelines, and the YCM+ Programme has shown us just what is possible if we empower young people rather than speaking for them. We are delighted to be rolling out the initiative for another cycle, and with almost 300 YCMs around the world, we know we will not be short of incredible programmes to support."
The Young Change-Makers – who are nominated by their respective National Olympic Committees – attend the Youth Olympic Games as mentors for the athletes, and the YCM+ Programme was launched as an extension of this original idea in 2016 in order to leverage on their energy and passion. In 2017, the YCM+ projects were rolled out to over 8,500 young people, with an ongoing mission statement to make a sustainable impact on young people's lives.
To celebrate the impact of the programme, 18 YCMs+ hailing from four continents attended the IOC Youth Summit in Lausanne (Switzerland) in November 2017 to exchange ideas with IOC President Thomas Bach and discuss youth empowerment and social entrepreneurship.
"I'm often presented with statistics on a screen about youth engagement, but sitting face-to-face with you all and hearing your thoughts and opinions on the topics that matter to you is one of the best moments of my job," President Bach said. "On behalf of the IOC, I want to thank you all for delivering such incredibly inspiring and diverse projects."
At the end of the event, Bach invited all the YCMs+ to attend the Olympism in Action Forum, which will be held in Argentina in the build-up to the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 in October. In December, the IOC then announced a list of 76 YCMs+ who will travel as part of the athlete support teams in Buenos Aires.
The continued support of Worldwide Olympic Partner Panasonic has been a crucial part of the success of the YCM+ programme, according to Pedro Cavazzoni, the man behind the "Ski Na Rua" ("Ski in the Street") roller-ski project in Brazil.
"The YCM+ is an outstanding programme," Cavazzoni says. "It truly empowers young people to not only talk but to actually make things different and to deliver change through sport. A great programme like this needs great partners. To have Panasonic on board was of outstanding help for me and my project. The equipment provided revolutionised the way we document and share our activities."
Another project to benefit from Panasonic's involvement was Eric Mitchell's "YOG Outreach" sports programme in Canada, designed to promote wellbeing, healthy living and social responsibility. "One of the main points of consensus reached at the IOC Youth Summit was the excitement to work hand-in-hand with Panasonic, to engage and inspire our fellow young people within our communities," he says.
After the success of the first two cycles, applications for 2018 will open after the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
To see the YCM+ Programme in action in 2017, check out the video put together by the YCMs+ themselves.