1. We want to create the leaders of tomorrow
The Norwegian Atheltics Federation wishes to continue the success from this year with educating the leaders of tomorrow in the coming years too. The main goal of the project has been to give young leaders the confidence and the tools they need to take on leadership roles and hereunder take responsibility for their own local community. We are very proud of what has been started in 2011, and the feedback has been overwhelming.
”The education haven´t only exceeded all expectations. I´ve gotten to know myself better, I´m more secure in my choices and I´ve gotten a new perspective on things. It isn’t only on the track, but also at school amongst other. Qualities that are important for a good leader have been nurtured, aware or unaware, through the lectures of the amazing lecturers. Ung:leder has changed me, through the education have I seen a lot of new possibilities! Thank you very much :)”
- Kristiane Rygg, 18 years, Sogn og fjordane
What has happened so far in 2011?
During 2011 the participants of Ung:leder has got a systematic schooling in the leadership role during four weekend gatherings. They have gotten to meet good lecturers and supervisors, and have gathered knowledge and experience during a varied program. To make the participants confident in themselves, and their surroundings we have focused on creating a safe environment for the youths. Between the gatherings the participants has gotten personal, local mentors that has given them inspiration and confidence to continue to grow as leaders.
It has been a distinct goal for us that the Ung:leder program should give immediate results for the local communities. We have solved this by giving the participants a task of managing and carry out an athletics school or an exercise activity halfway through the program. The evaluation from the project shows that we have succeeded with our objective; the project has created a lot of “local heroes”.
This way of solving the issue surrounding the practical experience for the participants has given great values far beyond the experience of each Ung:leder participant. The participants have established project groups with a composition that in many cases differs from the usual project group in a club. The participants have also engaged other youths in the roles as leaders or trainers. We have also seen that the participants have had a unique the local businesses by getting food and prizes sponsored and they have also been in the local media. It is hard to estimate how many hours of voluntary labor the project has generated, but from the evaluation the participants have done it shows that about 200 hours per project is a fair estimate. Based on this number it we can estimate the total number of hours generated by this project to a five digit number. And all this is entirely for the local community.
We are of the opinion that we have accomplished a new way of educating youths, and we’ve got the result to show for. It takes time to make a significant change, and to be able to reach our vision to be an organization with youths in every decision-making body, the project has to have a long-term perspective and continuity. We still need more young leaders that can be resource persons for our clubs and countys.
The local community has already seen the results from our commitment to the youths and is very positive to the measures that have been done.
Norwegian athletics depends on skillful leaders at all levels of the organization. We are facing increasing expressions of concern for the future of volunteer labor. We know that youths both wants to and can contribute, and that’s why we want to invest in Ung:leder. At the same time we wish for new leaders that contribute to activity for kids in the local community.
2.1 Challenges in Norwegian athletics
A query amongst the clubs showed that the clubs looks at the lack of volunteers, trainers and leaders as far the biggest concern in Norwegian athletics. Furthermore the query tells that nearly 70 percent of the of the clubs lack board members under the age of 25.
Norwegian clubs are very dependent of volunteer labor. As much as 70 percent of the clubs reported that all the labor in the club was done by volunteers. In this context, one can find a concern about the decrease in the voluntary efforts, and that this will be a crisis for the clubs.
“(…) It’s being shouted about the lack of volunteers; It’s warned against an ever increasing professionalization that the sport is said to reflect through more individualism and less collective binding values and not least, one can sense an increasing commercialization(…)” (Enjolras/Seippel 2001).
We can see that an absence of volunteering will have huge consequences for the athletics. In 1999 the total value of volunteer labor in sports organizations in Norway could be valued to 7,3 billion NOK. In addition to generate income to the clubs, this volunteer economy is a social system where individuals get the possibility to meet and make personal relations. Through relations like these a network is made that can contribute towards social integration in the club and in the local community it is a part of.
This concern for volunteering and the fact that we are missing sufficient young leaders in the athletics community was the background for Norsk Friidrett to apply for funding to do something with this challenge in 2011, and make young leaders able to meet the challenges of tomorrow as leaders in Norwegian athletics.
When we started the project in 2011/12 we did a query where we asked the youths if they wanted to take on leader duties for club or county. 80,7 percent answered that they wanted to do this, while 19,3 percent didn’t have an opinion. It is a significant difference from this and the total number of participants who has gotten the possibility to use their commitment in an organization.
2.2 Young leaders in the Norwegian athletics federation
The Norwegian athletics federation has good experience with engaging youths. During the last two decades there has been arranged a youth gatherings, and there has been established a youth committee, Friidrettsforbundet ungdomsutvalg (FIFUK). There is also a youth representative in the central board; this representative is now implemented as a full member of the board. Through its work with FIFUK the organization has gotten board members, employees and trainers that have been great resources for the organization. Youths under the age of 25 has during the last 10 years also had the full responsibility for the planning and execution of a summer camp for youths, which has become a great success. We see that young people both wants to and does succeed. This gives us the motivation to do more for what we consider to be the leaders of tomorrow. Unfortunately we haven’t had resources to make use of this potential to the full in a targeted and systematic education program before 2011.
Through the program in 2011 we have seen that by committing to youths we get results and we also see the importance of continuing the targeted work in form of further follow-up of the participants.
“I believe that people with talent or good qualities in leading others get the opportunity to show themselves of in Ung:leder. Some doesn’t compete in athletics, but maybe they rather wants to help the sport in other ways. Maybe they don’t know that one can become a trainer or a young leader. Through Ung:leder one gets the opportunity to see all the possibilities Norwegian athletics has to offer. You don’t have to be a top athlete, and here there is an incredibly good possibility to learn, be inspired and get the glow for athletics as someone else than an athlete. One also meets people with the same interests and one can get a new way of life. That’s what I’ve gotten, really.” - Vika Singh
3. Ung:leder- the leaders of tomorrow
Ung:leder is an all new commitment and a new way of thinking in Norwegian athletics. The education should complement the education of trainers and officials and lift the strategic leadership within the athletics. The education should be a tool for developing the organization and build relations between organization and its leaders.
“Ung:leder has given me an opportunity to become a better leader, meet new people with the same interests and form a good background for work within athletics and in everyday life. I’ve learned a lot of new things and had it super fun at the same time!” - Marianne Huseby
“All has exceeded far over what I had expected in advance, I’ve really learned a lot! And how much fun it has been!” -Jostein Homgren
The Norwegian Athletics federation is to have a culture that has youths in all deciding organs.
3.2 Main goal
Through the Ung:leder project are we going to give basic support so that youths between the ages of 15 and 25 will and can take on leader tasks in the Norwegian athletics federation, and thus affect the development of Norwegian athletics and be an including resource person in the society. The organization is to experience a positive growth through the commitment to the youths.
During 2011 100 youths has gone through the program, in line with the interim goals of the project.
3.3 Interim goals
- Give 100 youths the possibility to develop themselves as leaders.
- We want to give clubs and countys access to 100 self secure leaders
- We want to give 100 youths the opportunity to take part in the development of Norwegian athletics.
- We want to give 100 youths the opportunity to take responsibility for leadership within the children’s sport, and make approximately 5.000 children active in athletics.
- Establish a youth network in four regions to secure the continuity
- Give 100 youths the possibility to participate on the organizations yearly weekend of competence
- Work targeted with giving the organization information about the youths commitment, and what they achieve. 90 percent of all active clubs are to know about the project before it comes to an end.
3.4 Target group
The ung:leder project is for youths that can function as leaders in athletic clubs i.e. boards and comities, as project leaders, employees, trainers and others with an interests and ambition of helping their club with a long term evolution.
Recommended target group is between the ages of 15 and 25. Furthermore we recommend clubs that participate in the project to sign up at least two participants to the project. Our experiences show that this project gives the participants the confidence and a better possibility to succeed with their projects, when they’re more young leaders supporting each other.
We also look on the education as a great opportunity to start a development process within their club.
4.2 Step 1: 100 new leader talents educated
The program will remain a combined education with theoretical competence, practical work and experience exchanges. The ung:leder program is to have a duration for at least one year. We are to maintain the youth’s experience of meeting a professional program that inspires.
4.2.1 Seminars. We’re filling the “toolbox”
We wish to have four seminars for the participants. They are to feel safe and secure within the group, and at the same time is there to be an opportunity for growth. The aim for the seminars is to fill the participants “tool box” so that they are ready to continue to develop their skills as leaders further when the program has finished. Coping will be in focus for the self-security. The values of the sport, modern leadership and coaching are to be the most important themes. The project groups and one’s own reflection are to be the main methods of learning.
The main subjects for the years to come will be the same as the passed year:
• To lead a project
• To lead others
• Experience, learning and the way forth
• Myself as a leader
When the program has finished the participant is to:
1) Have gotten practical experience as a leader through individual projects
2) Have gotten basic knowledge of the organization, theories/perspectives on leading and organization.
3) Together with a mentor, have made an individual development plan, where the participant gets the possibility to reflect over one’s own development as a leader, and facilitate further engagement to athletics.
4) Have gotten the possibility to specialize oneself in a certain area of interest: event, trainer or organization
5) Get the possibility to meet other contributors to Norwegian Athletics, network and share experiences
4.2.2 Summer school or training group. The local society harvests the fruits.
For Norwegian Athletics volunteering and good leadership are measures to create activity. We wish to make kids healthy through the possibility to exercise the main base skills with running, jumping and throwing.
“Competence with motor control is important for children both in general self-esteem, popularity and status amongst other children and not least to master practical everyday tasks. Surveys show that 6-10 percent of Norwegian children between the ages 7 and 10 have problems with their motor control” (Tidsskrift for den norske legeforening nr 25, oktober 2000)
We wish to continue our work with creating the leaders of tomorrow combined with creating activity for children in the local community.
There is a goal that the participants quickly get the possibility to contribute to their local community. This is to also be an incentive towards the clubs so that they will work for young leaders to join the program. Therefore the participants are to manage and carry through a summer school/camp for children in their local community or a training group/race where that is desirable. This practical experience is to be lead by the participants in cooperation with their local club. The Norwegian athletics federation contributes with manuals for how to carry through, marketing material, t-shirts and prizes for the children/participants.
Experience from 2011 shows that this way of working was very effective. For example the leaders who arranged summer schools set thousands of children in activity. These kids have gotten the possibility to exercise, get new friends, they have been seen by a person, the families have gotten an experience, the local communities have been engaged, and the media have covered it. Most important is that the participants have gotten the possibility to take responsibility on a safe and sound arena that has given trust, security and persistence and not least self-esteem.
4.2.3 Personal follow-up
During the first year of the project a model for organizing with the purpose to optimize and better the efficiency, has been worked out. The philosophy is, to develop a good leader demands personal follow-up and local anchoring, to do this we, in the organization, comes ever closer to the participant. The organizing has five parts where the purpose is to be spot on- the best follow-up of ung:leder.
The board for ung:leder has as its main purpose to have a comprehensive overview over the project, and secure the projects ground values are followed.
2. The project manager and the project group
The project manager and the project group, together, has the main responsibility for the execution of ung:leder according of the project plan. The project group has been put together with persons who have special competences within their area of responsibility.
3. Team leaders- Safety and acknowledgment
We are to have 10 team leaders who have as their main task to follow their team of approx. 10 participants during and in-between the gatherings. The main aim is that the participants are to feel safe, and that we are to have overview over all the participants. The team leaders have an important role as a anchoring towards the ung:leder project.
The team leaders have been recruited from athletics through their earlier and present volunteering. All are in age 20-35 years and well merited for the task. There is also an aim that the team leaders will get new knowledge and experiences through this project, and that we can anchor their volunteering even better.
4. Mentor – the heroes of today meets the heroes of tomorrow
In sports there are many great leaders, we want to continue to make use of these persons through transferring their knowledge to the participants.
All the participants get to pick their own mentor from their local community. This is a person that they trust, and that is willing to help lift the participant as a leader. The mentor has an important role as a local anchoring for the participant. The mentor is important throughout the education, but even more important after it has finished to follow-up the development plan of the participant. These mentors will get guidance and inspiration through our web page and direct contact with the federation so that they feel competent to guide their apprentices.
4.3 Step 2: The competence weekend
In 2011 the Norwegian Athletics Federation had a successful weekend called the competence weekend where members of the whole organization were invited to a weekend with new knowledge and networking. Evaluations told that the participants strengthened their desire to volunteering in the organization, and got to know others with the same desire from all over the country. We want to associate ung:leder with this gathering since we feel that this will be a great opportunity to network beyond the youth-network, and make the participants feel secure within more groups of the organization. There will also be possibilities for the youths to find their special area of interest as a young leader. At the competence weekend there will be an own session for the former participants of ung:leder together with the new ones.
In the ung:leder program there is a aim that the participant is to raise its line of sight and find their path further. At the competence weekend there will be subjects within different genres of the volunteering in Norwegian athletics for example club development, trainer course, speaker course etc.
4.4 Step 3: Networking gatherings for classes that has finished the education
We wish to maintain a close relation with the participants that have finished the education, to be able to help them along the way and to follow their development in the long term. The youths are to, as planned, get in to the positions they have worked towards, but at the same time we want to let them have a common arena to share their experiences, and also function as speaker for the organization. We have experienced that enthusiasts function best when they have fun and what they do seems meaningful, therefore it is important to us to create a large and exciting youth culture amongst the volunteers.
We have planned five geographical networks. This is a natural division of the country, and will cause a good size for the groups. This will also make closeness to the clubs and the activity. The Norwegian Athletics Federation has an employee in every county, and these employees want to help and support the youths in this network and give them opportunities and challenges. We vision that a committed youth has the main responsibility with coordinating the groups to secure the activity and a common platform in the project.
There are planned two official one-day gatherings for these during the year; this is in addition to informal contact on already established arenas like facebook and the webpage. At these gatherings the team leaders or representatives from the project group will meet the youths at for a planned process. This process is the same at all the regional gatherings. The costs associated with these gatherings will be lower because of a shorter way of travelling and the gatherings will mainly not be depending on an over-night stay. This will help to make a place to meet friends and exchange knowledge and experiences.
We also want the youths to have the possibility to expand their network in their local community, and we want to give them the possibility to initiate projects under the direction of the youth-network. The main goal is to expand the youth-network and maintain the contact and the commitment.
During the project the participants have shown that youth-democracy and youth-commitment are worth pursuing. Youths both wants to and can do. The ung:leder program has stood out since it has been organized by youths for youths, and that it has generated a massive commitment back to the local communities.
5. The future.
The ung:leder program has grown from youths that saw a need for change in the organization, and thinks at athletics as a good arena to develop secure resource persons for athletics as well as the society in general. During 2011 we have proved that the planned structure does work above all expectation, and the evaluation shows overwhelming feedback from the participants, mentors and local community. The project has also gotten attention in political youth organizations, other voluntary organizations and European athletics.
The sponsor Gjensidigestiftelsens values are “Preventive- evolving- create activity- community building” and these are concepts that goes good with the ung:leder education. On many levels the project works towards preventing through making the young leaders conscious about their role in the community, and prepare them to make their own decisions based on thoughtful values, have the courage to stand by them and help that children and youths meets a safe environment. Ung:leder has shown itself to be developing, and the participants has shown a great development during the course of the education. The 100 youths have created a lot of activity through their practice that has given them leader experiences on many levels. Not least have the project been a community builder. The participants learn to take responsibility, to lead and initiate projects.
We wish to make a change in the culture of the organization, and to do that we need even more youths that can be the platform for youth commitment.
With the help of Gjensidigestiftelsen 100 youths have proved that to be an important person it not the only about how many years one has been volunteering for what one believes in, but just as much it is about helping out for what one burns for. We hope for support to continue to commit even more. This is what we burns for!