On 22 and 25 June 2020, over 70 adult mentors, National Directors and international Special Olympics staff gathered for the first-ever Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Online Youth Summit. The event offered athletes and youth leaders from across Europe Eurasia the opportunity to connect and discuss strategies on how to drive online activation. The goal was to pilot online youth engagement at a regional level and to showcase leadership skills.
The first day of the Summit focused on learning core techniques for online activation. Youth leaders discussed digital strategies and participated in activities to explore new technologies and the possibilities they offer to boost Special Olympics’ online presence.
On the second day, the discussion centered around the role youth can take in harnessing digital activation to achieve a more inclusive society. Antonia, a Youth Leader from Special Olympics Germany, found the whole experience quite inspiring. “The topic ‘Youth Leadership in the digital world’ was very interesting, since you could exchange thoughts with other Youth Leaders and mentors. It was nice to hear what the others are working on and to get new ideas,” she commented after the Summit.
The Special Olympics Europe Eurasia team was also delighted with the success of the first ever regional Online Youth Summit. According to a poll taken at the end of the event, 91 percent of attendees believe that Youth Leaders should take a leading role in online activation to support the growth of the Unified Generation. Tobias Staebler, Manager of Youth Engagement in Special Olympics Europe Eurasia commented, “We were amazed by the positive feedback we received from participants. It was excellent to get so many people joining all around the region and most importantly we had fun together!”
Six Special Olympics programmes were selected to pilot the first ever youth-led Innovation distance projects during autumn 2020: Special Olympics Hellas, Special Olympics Cyprus, Special Olympics Montenegro, Special Olympics Hungary, Special Olympics Italy and Special Olympics Lithuania.
We look forward to learning from Youth Leaders across our region how to improve our digital impact this year!