Childhood and youth

Sport socialization happens in the very first years of childhood, in which the child is a natural expression of the movement and is exposed to the influence of a sport that stimulates imagination and dreams, provides myths and motifs emulation; at this stage the children are accompanied and supported by their families. A model that includes even distortions like the pursuit of victory at all costs and the early specialization. Later in adolescence, when boys and girls are able to assert their point of view in comparison to adults and families, often mature the idea of ​​separation from sport. Drop-out, therefore, characterizes in particular the age range 13-18 years with a per cent close to 20%. The factors which determine this gap are varied, interference with the study, development of other interests, difficult organization of urban spaces, limited access to appropriate areas, insufficient educational support. But it also strongly weighs the rejection and intolerance towards sports models proposed in childhood characterized by a strong competitive and selective components, which together with the pressing expectations of parents and coaches, lead in children a sense of frustration and inadequacy.

At the same time the complexity and pace of everyday life pose obstacles to the adoption of good practice: economic, technological, social and cultural rights occurred in the last 50 years have brought a real revolution in the habits of daily life: from travelling mostly on foot to the massive use of public or private means of transport; from food carefully prepared and consumed at home to eating out, in addition to increasing time spent on computer and video games. All this is reflected in the patterns of life of children and adolescents, who do not acquire more motivated habits for an active and healthy lifestyle (we consider that already in school age – 6/10 years - the per cent of sedentary people is 23% as shown by the 2012 White Paper of Italian Sport. Moreover, in adolescence, a sedentary lifestyle does not involve only negative implications on physical health, but also on cognitive and psychosocial development.

In this context, such an association of sport for all as UISP can play a proactive role in society, on the one hand starting from his wealth of experience and good practices across the field of active lifestyles and on the other hand, in the area of educational policies and interventions in school and extra-school. In fact it is recognized that "facilitate access to sport and spread the sports culture among young people can play a key role in promoting sustainable and healthy behaviors of all age population, promoting the return to physical activity and the adoption of active lifestyles. Various multipurpose international surveys conducted in recent years, show the importance of prevention in the youth age, when they can begin lifestyles harmful to health.

All UISP projects realized for children and young people are characterized by the methodological choice to develop a intersectoral approach involving all social actors in a logic network (school, social and health workers, experts, local authorities, associations) and to promote peer education, which encourages young people's active role and a gradual "taking charge" or self-management of activities by young people themselves. This approach, among the long-term results, allows young people to develop ideas and gain independently knowledge, turning them into beliefs and reference values ​​that will remain as their heritage.

Uisp started years ago a coherent pluriannual preventive campaigns to raise awareness for children and families ("Let's get move", "Ready, Steady, Go!"), entering the program Earning Health of the Italian Ministry of Health, with excellent scientifically validated results and a series of projects for young people based on unstructured and postmodern activities as parkour, street dance, hip hop, sliding sport as skateboarding, scootering, snowboarding, juggling. These activities respond to their needs of expression and movement.