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National Youth Forums

What is the youth forum?

A national youth forum is a small group of 15-20 year old hockey enthusiastic youngsters (players/fans/supporters, etc.). They have to be committed and enthusiastic about promoting youth hockey in their respective countries. They are also responsible for communicating with their National Association.

In the teething stages of developing your youth committee, every country would have their own special situation and problems. It is very important to develop constant communication with your NHA. To get one adult to represent the youth committee at Board meetings would be a good idea or ask them if the youth committee can sit in as observers. At the end of the meeting you can introduce the youth forum to the meeting and also give out handouts as a hard copy.

If you have problems getting the NHA to recognize the formation of the youth forum, the task is even harder, and the Chairperson would have his/her cut of for them. In this situation the committee would now have to prove their worth and commitment even more. They can do this by having a lot of mini-tournaments and try and get media coverage e.g. television, newspapers, radios, anything. Get National Teams to play the opening matches of these tournaments, which will surely bring some media.

Difficulties in forming youth forum:

Geographical size plays an important factor at how often a committee would meet, etc. I would suggest in larger countries like U.S.A , Mexico, etc. should have regional youth forums, instead of a national one. Mainly a committee per state or so, and once a month or once every two months, representatives from the committees can come together and have one large meetings after putting all their points and ideas together.

Even though the committee would not be able to meet physically they still must communicate. That is very important, especially the Chair must keep up to date with members after he/she delegates task to make sure that they are done.

What is the purpose or functions of the youth forum?

The general purpose is to give youth a voice. But within every country's forum, the committee must come up with their own purpose within a given time period. Start an Under-19 league by the end of this year or start umpiring clinics on Saturdays and they should umpire in next year's league. Everything must have a time period attached to it, so that the forum would know of they have achieved their goal.

This is just a general overview dealing with national youth forums. This might not be related to each individual country  because of different hockey situations and problems. If you need any assistance in setting up your National Youth Forum, please feel free to contact me. My e-mail is: [email protected]

By Melissa Pascal (Trinidad & Tobago)

Youth Committees Project Manager, FIH Youth Panel

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