Sport and arts programmes in non-formal education settings make a huge contribution to the positive development and empowerment of young people. That was the premise of a symposium held on Tuesday 8 November at the Commonwealth Secretariat headquarters in London.
Youth workers, students, academics, representatives of youth work institutions, sport and arts practitioners, and youth leaders attended the event. It marked Commonwealth Youth Work Week 2016, which is scheduled 7-13 November under the theme ‘Empowering young people through sport and arts’.
The symposium increased awareness of the value of sport and art programmes, and featured presentations from a wide range of experts in youth work, youth empowerment and development. At the opening ceremony, Layne Robinson, Head of Youth Programmes at the Commonwealth, expressed strong institutional support for youth workers across the Commonwealth.
“I am extremely pleased to be opening this Symposium to commemorate Youth Work Week this year and to discuss practical solutions to the challenges raised by youth leaders,” he said. “Today will highlight some of the ‘out of the box’ approaches to positive youth development.”
Mr Robinson added, “As young people participate in sport and arts programmes they build personal, social and intellectual capacities that enhance their contribution in the home, school, community, country and the wider world. The impact of these programmes at the individual or community level should not be understated.”
Youth Work Week is an annual initiative by the Commonwealth Secretariat that highlights the contribution and achievements of youth work, youth workers, and youth organisations throughout the 52 Commonwealth member countries.