The MOVE Congress 2015 opened in Copenhagen City Hall tonight with 200 delegates from five continents being welcomed by Copenhagen Mayor of Culture and Leisure, Carl Christian Ebbesen, and three interconnected presentations drawing inspiration from bestselling business author Simon Sinek*: Do you know your why? (by Mark Lowther from Cardiff Metropolitan University’s School of Sport), Do you know your what? (by DGI President Søren Møller) and Do you know your who? (by ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby).
Lowther began by emphasising the reason behind using the word “why” as a starting point for stakeholders in sport and physical activity to consider at the MOVE Congress.
“It is important to have a clear purpose, a collaborative process and to have some sort of compelling product or service,” he said.
He noted that the purpose of grassroots sport has a distinct correlation with elite sport – and should be just as compelling a product when it comes to achieving the three main working areas of the Congress: advocating for the cause, innovating grassroots sport initiatives and gaining support through fundraising or by other means.
“They seem like two polarities; two completely opposite worlds [grassroots and elite sport]… But I would suggest that there is a common ground and a common line for our sector. From the hardest to reach grassroots participation right up to those striving to be the best in elite sport and that common line for me is hope. Our purpose is hope and belief in human potential and human possibility.”
Søren Møller, the President of DGI in Denmark, a founding ISCA member, illustrated how these two worlds are colliding to the benefit of the same cause in Denmark. Earlier this year DGI, the country’s biggest grassroots sport association, joined forces with the national elite sport body, the NOC and Sports Confederation of Denmark.
Their product, “Move for Life” (Bevæg dig for Livet), is an ambitious campaign for 75% of Danish citizens to be physically active by 2025, and for 50% of the population to be members of a sports club. The initiative has succeeded in getting corporate foundations (Nordea-fonden and TrygFonden) on board, but Møller underlined the value of gaining inspiration from likeminded organisations from other countries at an event like the Congress.
“We know what we have to achieve and we know we need all the inspiration that we can get to identify the right, efficient and sustainable solutions. DGI has since the foundation of ISCA been ready to share our ideas and take your ideas on board for implementation in a Danish context. To succeed with the Vision ‘Move for Life’ we need to be given more inspiration and knowledge,” he said.
“We know that many of you are facing similar opportunities and challenges such as school reforms, declining memberships within traditional sports, and the dynamics of the competition between voluntary based civil society and the commercialised market.”
ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby thanked the City of Copenhagen, Sport Event Denmark and the Danish Foundation for Culture and Sports Facilities for pledging their support behind the MOVE Congress 2015. They played a big role in how the Congress came to happen, he said, and ISCA put the framework in place for the delegates to find out how to develop their next successful initiative.
“Over the next two days we will try to do our best to set up the Congress and meeting points for you to exchange your ideas and find the platform for your ‘how’. It does not come easily. It comes only if you ask and if you give,” he said.
Copenhagen Mayor of Culture and Leisure, Carl Christian Ebbesen, said he was pleased Copenhagen could host this platform for stakeholders in sport and physical activity, hoping the delegates would use the street sport setting at the host venue GAME and the tours of Copenhagen’s most innovative facilities for physical activity as further inspiration for their work.
“I hope the MOVE Congress 2015 can help us discover new approaches to sport, physical activity and facilities, and rethink and develop what physical activity can be… It is not the name of the sport that matters; it is the number of people being physically active that really matters,” he said.
*Source: Simon Sinek (2009), Start with Why