On January 17th and 18th, collaborating partners met in Sweden to kick off the project A Hat Trick for Inclusion. These organizations united to discuss an approach and strategy to recognize, prevent, and contrast hate speech for more inclusive sport. Funded by Erasmus plus Programme, the meeting included the following partners: OPES, SVENSKA UNGDOM LEAGUE, ASOCIATIA SE POATE, EUROCIRCLE ASSOCIATION, AICEM.
Why A Hat Trick For Inclusion?
Hate speech covers “all forms of expressions that spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance”. (Council of Europe) The focus of A Hat Trick for Inclusion is to spread awareness of the negative impact that hate speech has on individuals while promoting an educational sport programme involving affected groups. Two main objectives guide the initiative which are to 1) help young people, youth leaders, educators, trainers, coaches in the sport field at grassroots level improve their personal and professional competences to develop sport activities while raising awareness of hate speech effects; and 2) foster new attitude among young generations playing sport at grassroots level, as a way to favor the creation of an open and inclusive environment in which everyone can benefit from the effect of doing sport activities.
The Two Days Of Meetings:
Over a two-day planning meeting, January 17th and 18th, partners congregated in Sweden to become more familiar with respective organizational goals related to inclusion in youth sports. Following informal introductions, each partnering agency presented what they do and how they hope to contribute to the overall project. A brainstorming session around the two main objectives for A Hat Trick for Inclusion resulted in specifics for how each organization could most effectively execute a plan to realize those goals. As the focus was to find innovative ways to counteract hate speech in sports, a detailed set of action steps was developed to best position new generations for an inclusive environment in youth sports to benefit all.
Sport activities are a way for kids to clear their head while forming friendships, building comradery, and creating identities. On a professional level, involvement in sport teaches us valuable lessons that are applicable to all facets of life. An inclusive youth sports environment removes barriers of intolerance and replaces them with acceptance and affirmation to transform lives.