Additional stress instead of routine, cognitive stress due to loss of structure and social impoverishment due to contact restrictions. The challenges over the past two years have been great for the youngest generation due to the corona pandemic. In view of the latest developments, SPORTUNION recently launched the #sportverbindet initiative so that people from young to old can find each other better through various campaigns. The 17th season of “UGOTCHI – points with class” is one of the most important projects and, in order to promote social interaction, will take place in 2022 under the motto “Team Spirit” at around every third elementary school in Austria.
A total of 61,474 elementary school children from 3,476 classes in 1,157 schools will go on a points hunt from May 9th to June 5th, 2022. With these figures, the project has set a new record at all levels. Among other things, (ball)playful and team-building exercises are brought into the classrooms and living rooms during the units, with which children can learn more easily and easily. The point-collecting game is integrated into everyday school life and supported by teachers and parents. The classes are rewarded with medals during the project weeks, taking into account the topics of exercise, nutrition and team spirit.
“This year we are experiencing a new participation record in the most extensive exercise project at every third elementary school in all of Austria. Over 60,000 children from Lake Neusiedl to Lake Constance will take part in the 17th season of “Points with Class”, which is a strong and important sign after the two years of the pandemic. With this project, we want to get Austria’s children excited about more sport and this year in particular social cohesion – hence the motto ‘Team Spirit’. We are proud that every second child in Austria is in a sports club where, apart from exercise, values are also taught. In Norway, 8 out of 10 children are in a sports club, and we want to use this as a benchmark. One of our major goals is therefore to further strengthen youth and school sports. With combined forces, we want to create a future with more healthy years of life,” stressed SPORTUNION President Peter McDonald.
The European Union has declared 2022 the “European Year of Youth”. This is intended to direct the focus to young people after the challenging Corona years. That’s why Secretary of State for Youth Claudia Plakolm was happy about this year’s “Points with class” start: It’s an incredibly strong sign that after two difficult years we have a record participation in this important project. This also shows that you can’t digitize everything, that the shared experience was missing. Finally, having fun with sport and exercise is in the foreground again and strengthens both the physical and mental fitness of young people.” The State Secretary for Youth also sees the project alliance of SPORTUNION, ÖFB and SIMPLY STRONG as ideal for implementation.
The 17th edition of “points with class” proves that the movement offensive has become established and has become a fixed point in every third elementary school in the country. The excellent cooperation between the project partners is certainly decisive for this. “I’m particularly pleased that the women’s national team is back again this year. The national team’s kickers are role models for so many girls and boys in the country and thus an additional motivational boost for exercise and team spirit,” concluded Secretary of State for Youth Claudia Plakolm.
Like last year, the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) was a partner of the movement project in schools. In view of the women’s soccer championship, which will take place in the summer with Austrian participation, girls in particular should be encouraged to take part in the sport. ÖFB national team player Jasmin Eder is the official ambassador of the initiative. In addition, the mascots UGOTCHI (SPORTUNION’s yellow chick) and Ostar-Richi (ÖFB’s eagle) accompany the project.
“It cannot be overemphasized how important exercise, fun and play is for children. But the values of sport and football, which are the focus this year, are also of central importance for the development of the girls and boys. Community experiences and playful togetherness are experiences of inestimable value,” stressed team manager Irene Fuhrmann.