Djurgården Football Mini-camps
Djurgården Fotboll Club is one of Sweden’s most successful football clubs and one of the big three teams in Stockholm, playing in the top division in both men and women’s football while its youth system regularly attracts 2,000 boys and girls. The club has one of the biggest fan bases in Sweden with an average attendance of around 16,000 for men’s first team games at its new home ground. With this, they understand their responsibility in the community and have established a reputation for their work on sustainability in football.
As part of this community work, Djurgården IF are finding great success in one of their initiatives, the Djurgården Fotboll Mini-Camps which are aimed at encouraging kids to take part in physical activity through organised football camps. They understand that physical activity not only has an impact on physical health but also mental health and as per Maria Hagströmer, Physiotherapist and senior lecturer at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm,
“Many of today’s major public health problems are related to our lifestyle. The World Health Organization estimates that 70% of all diseases in the world by 2020 will be caused by factors related to living habits. We also know that increased physical activity in adults would have a major positive effect on health in the population.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that children take part in 60 minutes of physical exercise each day yet in Sweden only 30% of children achieve this amount and research has shown that regular habits are set early in life regarding physical activity being maintained into adulthood.
Djurgården Fotboll recognises it can play a leading role in getting kids active and has taken action in a way that brings a win-win situation to all stakeholders, not only the club and its partners but the children, families and schools in their local communities.
The key objectives of the programme in relation to the schools include:
- Increasing the attention spans of kids since physical activity has been shown to help with this in school children and thus boost school results and grades
- Finding alternative resources since many schools don’t have the resources and facilities to provide the required activities.
- Responding to external expectations since schools are under pressure to find a solution to the problem of physical inactivity
While the Club can also benefits by:
- Protecting the game of football by creating interst in the game in children.
- Increasing the fan base by engaging with children and building a positive relationship between them and the football clubs.
- Higher participation from boys and grils also increases the possibility of discovering tomorrow’s star talent.
As Djurgården Fotboll U10’s Academy coach, Felicia Henriksson says,
“Mini-Camps are a great opportunity for Djurgården Football to show how we work as an organization with the children in our communities. A lot of the Mini-Camp participants have never played football before in an organised manner where they can spend time playing together with coaches. That gives us an opportunity to inspire more children to join an organised team.”
Each Mini-Camp runs for a duration of 60 mins and is led by instructors from Djurgården Fotboll Club, combining an introduction to football with the discovery of the joy of being physically active but with an emphasis on social skills and fun over competition. The club usually holds three Mini-Camps a day with between 30 and 60 kids each session, depending on the size of the playing ﬁeld. In 2018, the programme engaged with approximately 5500 children as well as their parents and teachers and has only received positive feedback from all. Some participants have gone on to join the clubs youth football system and many have become interested in going to watch the first team games with their families.
The Djurgården Football Club CEO, Henrik Berggren, summed up the programme and it’s success:
“Djurgården is a club for men and women, boys and girls and our Mini-Camps introduce football to children in the city of Stockholm. We know football, it’s our core business, and the Mini-Camps are a perfect match where we as club can use our brand’s attractiveness, our instructors’ knowledge of football, and our partners’ growing interest in social responsibility to help schools to physically activate their children. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. The positive feedback from all involved has been overwhelming.”