The purpose of this article is to provide a critical evaluation of this year’s summer get-together. We will be focusing primarily on the Sports Day component of the get-together, while ignoring other elements, such as food and refreshment preparation.
This year’s summer get-together was a relatively unique experience for both participants and organizers. Only once before has the planning and execution of the sport’s day been left entirely in the hands of Idaikkadu Youth. The first attempt made by the Youth Committee was in 2008.
A stroll down memory lane…
Back in 2008, we sent out a mass e-mail inviting all of the youth belonging to Idaikkadu to help organize this year’s sports day. The success and personal enjoyment of the 2008 sports day would be entirely decided by the youth themselves. We received replies from roughly 15 youth, aged nine to twenty nine who wanted to help. I’d say 15 individuals was enough man power for the job; probably more than enough.
It should be noted that not only did we have 15 members in the Youth Committee, we had a large amount of support from the generation above us. We needed locations to host meetings, happily provided to us by the parents of the Youth Committee. We needed transportation to and from venue’s, graciously provided to us by various members of the upper generation. We even needed advice during the planning phase. After all, this was the first time were were doing this. We had no idea what would work and what wouldn’t.
The important thing to note here is how much man power we had. Nothing was too difficult and nothing was impossible.
Subsequently, the 2008 Sports Day went smoothly. The games were innovative and the execution was clean. The Youth Committee stood on the field and organized game after game, while members of the Main Committee assisted on the side. A true team effort. Lack of participation was a non-factor, mainly because anyone who was a part of the Youth Committee would gladly participate in the events. This in turn enticed many of the other youth to join in as well.
Once again, we sent out a mass e-mail containing an open invitation to join the Youth Committee, but this year, we got a meager response of just 8 individuals. Even while considering that many of the 2008 Youth are now attending university, and do not have the time they used to have, what happened to the younger youth? Surely there are more than 8 Youth with enough time on their hands to assist their community? Regardless, we forged forward and once again completed our planning and preparation for July 21st.
This year, we also didn’t get much support from the generation above us. To be clear, we received a large amount of support during the planning phase, but near none on the day of. This is partly due to the lack of turnout in general. In 2008, I’d estimate we had around 400 total attendees. This year, it’s probably closer to 200. While there were many adults that were willing to lend a helping hand, with our downsized Youth Committee, we needed much more help. The Youth Committee can organize games, and execute them, but they need the help of the upper generation to gather participants, act as referees, explain rules etc. The Youth Committee does not hold the same authority as members of the upper generation.
As a side effect of having less youth in the Youth Committee, the 16+ age group chose not to participate in any of the events, other than Soccer. This left a big gaping hole in many of the team games we had planned for this year. Our idea was to create games where individuals from all age groups could work together, but with a lack of participation from the older age groups, this fell apart. The 11-15 age groups participated, but due to a lack of attendees, there were only 10 children in this age group. In the end, we abandoned many of the team games we had planed and simply increased the amount of time the 5 – 10 age group got for their games.
The lack of participation was not only prevalent from the youth, there were similar problems with the adult group. The adult versus youth soccer game needed to be postponed to the afternoon due to a lack of participation from the adult group. The family wet sponge relay also required a great deal of coercion to gather participants. In fact, it took roughly 30 minutes to gather participants after the game was set up. How can we expect the Youth to participate, when the generation above us does not participate either?
Left as it is, this lack of participation is what will become the great down fall of our summer get-together. The number, type and variation of games we can plan is greatly limited by a lack of participation from all age groups. Worker morale also drops significantly since, at the surface level, when no one participates in organized events, it seems as though the efforts of the organizing committee are not being appreciated. Of course, the blame is not entirely on the participants. We recognize that some of the games we planned were too complicated and some of them too boring. We will most definitely be using the experience we’ve gained this year to improve upon next year’s sports day. The question at hand is obvious to us now, and should be obvious to you as well. How do we get you to participate?