“Empowering Youth Through Sports: Insights from the ‘YOU SHOULD STAY!’ Project Meeting”


The first in-person meeting of the “YOU SHOULD STAY!” project took place in Siderno from December 5th to 8th, 2022. Thanks to the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, the associations ASD YMCA Siderno, Federatia YMCA Romania, and ETNA learned new tools to raise awareness about the benefits of sports practice during adolescence and combat sports dropout.

The meeting was divided into three phases. In the first phase, the participants were divided into four groups, each tasked with inventing four sports team-building activities to discover new, original, and inclusive training methods.


Next, a project presentation was conducted, utilizing slides to address the themes of adolescence, sports dropout, and the role of the Youth Worker. To focus on the latter, participants were asked to record a video discussing the characteristics of a good youth worker.

In the final phase, the participants were divided into two groups. The first group created an analysis sheet for their community, aiming to understand the problems it faced. This served as a valuable tool for community assessment. The second group designed two sports role-playing games to encourage the participation of all young people involved in the sports activities.


To create the four sports team-building activities, each group named the activity, identified participants, described the objectives, listed required materials, established rules, and provided feedback. For example, “The Ball of Trust” involves 20 or more players and aims to foster bonds between participants, help them feel comfortable discussing their problems, and emphasize that they are not alone. The materials required are a ball or a Frisbee, and the rules involve forming a circle, sharing personal issues, and passing the ball among participants who share similar problems, leading to a discussion of common issues and the acceptance of one’s feelings. The feedback indicates that participants will realize they are not alone and find ways to accept themselves as they are.


The presentation and explanation phase of the project began by listing the specific objectives that contribute to the overall goal of supporting sports associations and educators in preventing adolescent sports dropout through the “You should stay!” method. The presentation included data on dropout rates and their causes, distinguishing between internal factors related to personal dissatisfaction and lack of motivation, and external factors that do not necessarily deter engagement in sports. Furthermore, the differences between puberty and adolescence were explained, highlighting the somatic changes, formation of identity, and the role of family and peer groups. The presentation concluded by introducing the role of the youth worker, who facilitates the learning and personal and social development of young people, enabling them to become autonomous and responsible citizens through active participation and inclusion in their communities.


To promote non-formal educational methods and engage participants in all aspects of the project, they were divided into three groups and asked to record two videos each, discussing the six most important skills they believed a youth worker should possess.


In the third and final phase of the meeting, the participants were divided into two groups. The first group created a community analysis sheet for both under 16 and over 16 age groups. Community analysis is crucial as it serves as a process of change, actively involving community members and utilizing available resources. The second group devised two sports role-playing games to encourage the involvement of all young people participating in sports activities.


The first activity, called “Concert!”, involves 15 or more participants and aims to build trust among the group by forming three rows, sitting closely together with arms extended upwards. One participant then runs towards the group and jumps to be carried to the end.


The second sports role-play is called “The Animals Run” and can be performed by 10 or more people. The objective is to increase camaraderie and enjoyment.

Il triangolo non rappresenta tre lati separati.

E' composto da 3 lati uguali che rappresentano i pilastri fondamentali dell'YMCA.



“Fostering Team Building, Effective Communication, and Healthy Competition: Highlights from the YOU SHOULD STAY Project’s Second Transnational Meeting”


The second transnational meeting of the YOU SHOULD STAY project took place in Baia Mare, Romania, from March 23rd to 26th, 2023. Thanks to the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, the associations A.S.D. YMCA Siderno, Federatia YMCA Romania, and E.T.N.A. collaborated to create new sports activities and explore innovative, original, and inclusive training methods.

The first day commenced with an “energizer game” consisting of three rounds. In each round, participants selected a folded piece of paper from a container and interacted with their peer according to the instructions written on the card. The first round involved shouting, the second round required performing the action, and the third round involved mimicking.

Following this, a “dialogue and connecting groups game” took place, where participants were asked to roll a toilet paper and tear it based on their typical usage. For each piece of toilet paper taken, participants shared personal information with the group (e.g., five pieces of toilet paper equated to sharing five things about themselves). Participants decided the level of disclosure, whether general or personal. The purpose of the game was to foster group cohesion and bonding.

After these initial games, the group engaged in a discussion on effective communication within a team, exploring its meaning and significance. Participants shared their opinions on fundamental elements of effective communication, with respect, openness, clarity, positivity, and understanding emerging as common themes. They also ranked the elements contributing to good collaboration in sports activities, such as dialogue, defining common goals, organization, respect, and initiative. Subsequently, an open discussion delved into the consequences of the absence of communication in teamwork and the potential implementation of new communication tools in the workplace. These conversations brought the group closer, promoting relaxation and readiness for the upcoming enjoyable activities.

The participants then proceeded to create additional activities. The first activity was the “Game of The Path of Questions and Knowing the Partner.” Pairs selected a path and followed the instructions on the cards, which consisted of ten questions aimed at deepening mutual understanding. The questions included topics like favorite songs, childhood aspirations, and earliest memories. The game also incorporated mini-games, such as team-based tic-tac-toe and sudoku. This activity facilitated increased familiarity among partners and boosted self-confidence, enabling easier and faster conversations.

Next was the “Rope Game,” where participants were blindfolded and tasked with forming a square shape using a long rope held in their hands. Some group members strategized, others asked questions, and some followed instructions. After a few minutes of attempting to create the square, the blindfolds were removed, and the participants found themselves in a large circle. The group engaged in a conversation about their communication during the game and established tips for better communication, including the leader seeking understanding and agreement, creating a safe space for everyone to express themselves, asking for feedback, maintaining a shared goal and direction, learning from mistakes, and taking responsibility for roles within the group.

In the “Two Legs Tied” game, participants were divided into pairs and had their ankles tied together. The pairs lined up side by side to race against each other through an obstacle course. The obstacles included jumping over a rope, sliding against marked obstacles, touching checkpoints, and returning to the start line (finish line). The task was performed multiple times, with different variations. In one round, teams finished the race at their own pace, while in another round, they were given a time limit of 20 seconds. Teams that failed to complete the race in 20 seconds were eliminated. In the final round, groups were formed based on the color of the blindfolds on their ankles, creating a competition between two groups. After the race, participants discussed their experiences with diverse types of healthy competition and shared their feelings. The discussion on healthy and unhealthy competition led to a consensus on the necessary factors for fostering healthy competition: perceiving it positively, explaining and understanding the benefits of punishment, avoiding excessive pride, learning from losses, focusing on shared targets and goals, prioritizing mental health and mindset, and embracing the present level of performance.

The last activity of the day involved role-playing. Participants divided into three groups and created scenes representing unhealthy competition, which the rest of the group had to guess and explain. Following that, each group designed and wrote a game or activity that promoted healthy competition and fun in sports.

The second day began with an energizer game called “Alele,” where participants stood in a circle imitating the group leader’s movements and sounds to symbolically drive away the rain. The game aimed to raise awareness of participants’ inner voice, encourage them to step out of their comfort zones, and express themselves loudly or softly when prompted.

Afterward, Francesco led a discussion on the impact of technology on individuals and the benefits of incorporating technology in sports. Participants were then divided into teams of three and tasked with creating a game that integrated technology in the sports context.

To conclude the meeting, a Treasure Hunt with five missions was organized. Participants followed GPS directions and QR codes to reach a secret location, interacted with local people while recording a video, searched for hidden objects, coordinated with team members to transport a ball from one point to another, played volleyball, and took a group photo while forming the YMCA human sign.

The second transnational meeting of the YOU SHOULD STAY project provided an enriching experience for all participants, fostering team building, effective communication, healthy competition, and the development of innovative sports activities.