New German study on volunteering in youth sport released
Germany’s Humboldt University, Youth Sport Association (Deutschen Sportjugend) and Federal Institute of Sport Science have released a new study on youth engagement and volunteering in German youth sport to coincide with a three-day conference on ‘Youth engagement in sport’, which was held in Frankfurt this September. The study, led by Prof. Dr. Sebastian Braun and based on surveys conducted between 1999 and 2009, finds that getting involved in a local sports club is “by far” the most popular civic society activity among 14-24-year olds in Germany.
However, the country’s youth engagement in grassroots sport is gradually declining, with 265,000 young Germans giving up their volunteering tasks over the past 10 years. The highest dropout rate has occurred among students, even though the study indicates that two-thirds of the young people who commit their time to volunteering are working towards or have obtained a higher education.
Ingo Weiss, member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and Chairman of the German Youth Sport Association (Deutschen Sportjugend – dsj) said he was eager to address these sliding figures, despite the overall findings showing a significant commitment to grassroots sport among young people in Germany.
“It is a core concern of the German Youth Sport Association to promote youth engagement in sport and to further its development. In this respect, we offer various initiatives such as Junior Team seminars. At the ‘Youth engagement in sport’ Congress in early September in Frankfurt, we want to put more impetus on promoting engagement in organised children’s and youth sports,” he said.
Although the study shows a slight decrease in the number of young people who are engaged in grassroots sport, it also finds that those who do dedicate their time to volunteering have in fact broadened their engagement over time. The study also suggests that the key to increasing engagement overall could be to extend more opportunities to lower educated or disadvantaged youths.