Durrington youth group’s Olympics a ‘celebration’ of hard work

A YOUTH group designed and took part in its own Olympic games with the help of two university students.

WH 070514 Children took part in 'tomato darts' in the Phoenix Club's Youth Olympics
WH 070514 Children took part in 'tomato darts' in the Phoenix Club's Youth Olympics

Georgia Bowers, 22, and Dane Longbottom, 29, two performance arts and music students, at Chichester University, worked with youth leaders from the Durrington based Phoenix Youth Group to create the event.

The students came up with the idea for the project as part of their applied arts module which looked at how youth groups can use theatre to enrich and inform.

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Dane said: “It went really well. The main thing was it was a celebration. It was a chance to celebrate the hard work we had done and get the parents involved. The kids had a great time and the parents gave fantastic feedback.

“Having been in that environment you see the work the volunteers have to do. It’s quite an amazing thing, people putting in hours and hours of hard graft.”

The pair held three two-hour long sessions at the group’s base, in Romany Road, Durrington.

Healthy living and healthy food choices were the subject of the first workshop. In the second, Georgia and Dane presented the idea of the Olympics and asked the children what they wanted to do – the children designed and made their own T-shirts and Olympic torches.

In the third session, the children practiced the Olympics.

“The games in the Olympics were all made up,” said Dane. “We were really big on peer led sessions. We didn’t want to go in and be leaders. We worked with the young leaders and said we want you guys to design the games and the activities.”

Four games were created for the event – darts with tomatoes, human bowling, an obstacle course and blind hook a duck. All the creative aspects of the event were funded by Georgia and Dane themselves, using their student loans and The Laurels First School offered them its school hall for free.

“The idea was to empower the youth club and for it to become a yearly thing,” said Dane. “We wanted to look at healthy living, inclusion and diversity and we thought a mini-Olympics would do that.”