We are the Great Generation!

In the run-up to the London Olympics, more than 250 young people aged between 15-17 came together from 17 different schools, including our brilliant Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville, to look at how sport can break down ethnic divisions, resolve conflict, and offer opportunities to children and young people in developing countries.

Stephen Davies, CAFOD Youth Programme Leader reports:

“We are the great generation and we can make a much needed change.”

“We can make a difference. There is more for us to do. I don’t feel useless. I feel I can help.”

“These are just a couple of the quotes given from young people who attended CAFOD’s Great Generation Conference, run in partnership with St Mary’s University College in Twickenham, in October, and held in their brand new sports facilities.”

“Young people learnt about our work with young people in Kenya, Liberia and Cambodia where sport is used as a building block for peace: where a game of football can be the first step in getting a young person back into school or a way of bringing together communities in conflict. They also heard first-hand from the four 16 year-olds who visited St John’s Sports Society in Korogocho earlier in the summer.”

“Chris Bain opened the conference, sharing his first hand knowledge of how sport can bring communities together and challenging the young people present to be ‘that great generation’, echoing Nelson Mandela’s now famous words.”

“Olympic hopefuls also addressed the conference which was hosted by St Mary’s University College in Twickenham. Steph Twell, Charlotte Purdue and Andrew Osagie, who hope to compete in the Cross Country and 800m races respectively, shared their experiences of taking the Olympic values and spirit all over the world.”“The conference is part of our Great Generation scheme which aims to equip young supporters with the skills and knowledge to tackle social injustice on a global scale and become agents for change in their own communities. ”

Here in the Portsmouth Diocese, we’ll be working with all the young people from Oaklands at their special CAFOD Day in October and using the Olympic activities resources with other young people throughout the coming year.

For more information on the Olympics activities – go to www.cafod.org.uk/olympicactivities

As Stephen said: “We know that sport can ease conflict and bring people together as it does in our projects overseas but we have also been able to use sport to explain some of the complicated issues around justice and peace. It inspires me to see the young people leaving the conference fired up and ready to take on these issues. They are really taking up the challenge to be a great generation.”

Watch this space for feedback on what the young people have done as a result of being inspired on the day!

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