During the summer we celebrated the Rio Olympics and Paralympics by providing opportunities for young people to take part in Olympic themed sports and games at Barnsley YMCA. At the Mini Olympics young people worked in teams comprised of young people of differing abilities and randomly selected a country they were going to represent during the games. The countries represented were Great Britain, Italy, Brazil, Australia, China and the United States of America.
Young people participated in a variety of activities during these sessions with sports and Olympic themes. Each team competed for Bronze, Silver and Gold places during the games. Sporting activities included – Blind Football, team relays, Javelin and long jump. Cultural activities included – samba drumming, face painting, arts and food tasting from around the world.
The event was delivered over two full days and young people from across the project, led by peer supporters, came together at the event, getting into the full spirit of the games and making the
most of the activities. Team members wore badges and made flags to represent the country they were competing for. The games culminated with a medal ceremony and samba drumming performance in which the young people showcased the skills learnt earlier in the day during the workshop. All the participants received medals and certificates for taking part. Throughout the games participants developed their sense of belonging and being part of something bigger, they tried a range of sports and activities and worked in teams with young people they did not necessarily know before. The peer supporters were able to put their skills and experience into practice leading the teams and supporting participation. The sense of pride in their achievements was evident in the celebrations at the closing ceremony and in the feedback from participants and parents.
Team GB achieved Gold at the games, with Brazil taking Silver and the USA taking Bronze. As the photographs show a fun time was had by all. There is now a permanent Olympic Mural on display at YMCA Barnsley. The Mini Olympics were followed by Community Games activities in green spaces in localities, which were funded by Sport England.