Short Description and Goal
Europod is an annual trinational, cultural exchange of sports clubs, between Lyon, Frankfurt and Birmingham, involving 400+ young participants.
- Europod was born from the idea that sport is much more than training and competition. It is a tool for self-development which helps us to develop individually and to adapt new values such as respect, fair play and tolerance.
- It is also a tool for exchanges because even though there might be boundaries because of the language or the cultural differences, sport is a universal language which allows the participants to discover their partners, their everyday, their traditions and their passions.
- Europod encourages exploring, playing, debating and sharing to make this week an unforgettable experience and hopefully strong relationships will be built there, and curiosity about Europe for the participants and staff will be strengthened for the years to come.
- Each year the project brings together 10 to 15 sports clubs from Birmingham who are linked with clubs in one or both other participating cities
- The clubs create groups of young people who aged between 12 and 17 years old who travel or welcome their partners for one week in summer
ACTIVITIES AND ACCOMMODATION
- During the whole week, the clubs organise their own program: trips, tournaments, trainings, etc.
- One day is planned for an exchange during the exchange, when each sport meets at least one other discipline to showcase their own sport
- The participants are accommodated in host families so that they can experience the host culture in the best way possible.
DO communicate regularly with partners (via Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom, etc.)
As a Europod organisation team, we are in regular contact via Whatsapp and email and will also have regular (monthly/bi-monthly) video calls to discuss planning. We also encourage the clubs involved in the exchange to stay in regular communication with their partner clubs in each country to ensure that the planning is as smooth as possible.
DO involve multiple people in the planning of exchanges – they can be very complex
There are always many things that need to be considered when planning an exchange and these can be overwhelming for just one person, so ensure that you get multiple people involved and share tasks. It also helps to keep consistency if staff leave or move to a different area of work.
DO ensure that all safety precautions are taken, especially when planning exchanges with children
The most important part of any exchange is ensuring that the participants are safe and have fun, so make sure that all safety precautions are taken, e.g. risk assessments, confirming safeguarding checks, insurance, etc.
DO involve young people in the planning and evaluation of the projects
If young people are involved in planning and evaluating the project then you can make sure that the project is right for the young people and that they will benefit from the experience. We have had a few examples when we have included young people on planning teams and this has given a much different perspective than just when it is planned by adults. The young people will likely come up with a lot of good ideas.
DON’T plan beyond your limits (start small and then increase once you have good experiences)
If you are new to exchanges then it’s best to start small and then increase as you gain more experience. In Europod, it started as being just a small exchange between 4 sports clubs in Lyon and Frankfurt and, after a successful start, grew year on year. At its largest, the exchange has included over 20 sports clubs from 3 cities, including Birmingham for the last 5 years and nearly 400 participants.
DON’T focus too much on formal learning, a lot of the success is informal learning and interactions
It is important that the participants benefit from being involved in the project, but this does not always have to be through formal learning. While there is a need for some level of formal learning to ensure that objectives are met, the best learning that young people gain from exchanges is the interaction and informal understanding that they gather from immersing themselves into the exchange and the activities that take place. These will usually be the experiences that they take away and remember for a long time.
- Sport Birmingham
- the Office des Sports Lyon
- the Sportjugend Frankfurt
Social Media Link(s)
Level / Project Complexity /
Sizes of Participating Cities
- United Kingdom