Category archives for Volume 7 Issue 13

Lasting social value or a one-off? People with intellectual disabilities’ experiences with volunteering for the Youth Olympic Games

This article serves as a follow-up on a previous study and looks at how volunteering at a major sporting event has affected the lives of a group of volunteers with intellectual disabilities two years after volunteering. The aim is to examine how volunteering at an Olympic event may be a source for lasting social value, operationalized as an increase in social capital and quality of life. Qualitative interviews were conducted on a selection of former volunteers with intellectual disabilities (n=8). In five of the interviews, parents of the interviewees also functioned as facilitators for the interviews. The same five parents were also interviewed in brief, semistructured interviews. This study shows that the event had a limited effect on bridging social capital, while having a stronger impact on the group`s bonding social capital. Moreover, the event has affected the quality of life for the participants to various degrees by being a source for positive memories, enforced by visual reminders such as the volunteer uniform frequently worn by the former volunteers. The volunteer experience also serves as a bridging element, bringing together groups of people with little in common. In some cases, volunteering also led to employment in regular occupations.

“Putting kids first”: An exploration of the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model to youth development in Eswatini

This exploratory study examined the potential of using sport as a creative and engaging context to facilitate life skills development in socially vulnerable youth in Eswatini, who face major context-specific challenges to their healthy development. The sport for development program was designed using the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model with adaptations made to fit the cultural context. Participants in the program were local coaches (N=3 males) and socially vulnerable youth (N=48, 25 females and 23 males) aged 11-15 years old, recruited from a community-based organization. Coaches were trained as the primary implementers of the program. Data collection employed a mixed-methods approach that triangulated data from surveys, learning quizzes, focus groups, and interviews. Findings supported the potential value of the program in cultivating the development and possible transfer of personal responsibility (e.g., self-direction skills such as goal setting and decision making) and social responsibility (e.g., interpersonal skills such as respect, self-control, conflict resolution, and caring) behaviors. The study provided preliminary support for the contextual utility of engendering these developmental outcomes in an environment where youth are facing a major health threat (i.e., HIV/AIDS) and community challenges (e.g., gender-based violence, poverty). Continued investment in long-term sport for development programming in Eswatini is warranted.

“It’s borderline hypocrisy”: Recruitment practices in youth sport – based interventions

Sport is often promoted as a vehicle through which a variety of social policy outcomes can be achieved. One of the most common outcomes is the enhancement of social inclusion opportunities for marginalized youth populations. While a growing number of studies have examined the potential of sport-based interventions to address broader social concerns, few have focused on the recruitment activities used within such programs to engage youth populations. Drawing on interview data collected within two sport-based interventions delivered in London (UK), which both aimed to engage marginalized young people through sport, this article intends to examine three main issue: first, to explore the practices undertaken by the two organizations to recruit and retain participants in their sport-based interventions, and second, to examine the implications of these practices on participant recruitment strategies. Third, the article contends that within a context shaped by a neoliberal agenda, the necessity to meet predetermined participation targets encourages organizations to use the most efficient means possible to maximize numbers of program participants. However, such recruitment strategies often overlook young people whose social exclusion is more complex or acute, and who, arguably, are in greater need of intervention support.