The Sports Working Group Board Looking Back at a Year of Challenges

The Sports Working Group (SWG) is preparing for this autumn by encouraging antennae to take part in interesting events such as the MOVE Week and Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) while also preparing for Autumn Agora Zaragoza and the upcoming elections for the SWG. In this interview the members look back on the last year.


Sabina Begic has been the PR responsible, Ángel Rodríguez has been the speaker, Özgun Kaplama has been focusing on FR, and Patricia Anthony has been the secretary of the SWG since October last year.

How has it been to be part of the SWG Board?

Patricia: It has definitely been a challenge but very rewarding as well. When SWG was created in Agora Enschede it was difficult to start a Working Group from scratch, but with the board of this past year it has developed a lot! Motivation was high in the beginning, and I hope to see the same happening for the next board – developing SWG even more.

Sabina: It was challenging and exciting. We started highly-motivated, had an enthusiastic and friendly team. During the year a few things changed in the board, so that also influenced us and our work.

Özgun: Very good for me. In SWG I learned that sport is not only sport. There are some sports events focusing on civil rights and social problems. This is a really nice opportunity to work on these problems from the perspective of sports.

Ángel: Many things have been done in the last year, it was really active at the beginning, but with time the members of the board became less active. I have learned many things about sports projects in Europe and met people from special organisations that fight for the evolution of social and civil rights in society. During this past year I have become active as volunteer for sporting events in my city and in AEGEE events, so it has opened my eyes and I have learned more how to focus on helping people.


What were the highlights?

Sabina: For me definitely the organisation of AEGEE Games together with AEGEE-León, and our Skype meetings with Daniel García Rodriguez from León.

Özgun: During Statutory Events’ Fairs, I could discuss with some people about the vision of fighting problems through sports. It was a nice experience.

Patricia: Developing different ideas that SWG can do for AEGEE and for the European youth. It has been amazing to see the working group grow.

Ángel: Meeting Adam Wide, a 60-year-old man who has more energy that a lot of AEGEE members… which is very difficult in my opinion.

What has been the most difficult part?

Sabina: The disappointment after finding out that we needed to cancel the AEGEE Games.

Özgun: Sometimes you cannot agree on a certain subject because of different opinions and different lifestyles but it is how you learn the most in volunteer work.

Ángel: Keeping the spirit on the European level is difficult when you do not have your mates by your side to discuss about the Working Group.

Patricia: Working together in a team that does not meat regularly and working across cultural borders is definitely a challenge. It continues to be a fight to activate AEGEE members on the European level and it was sad to see that events with great potential such as the AEGEE Games or International Day Against Homophobia could not be realized. However, the ideas are there and they will not get lost so hopefully it can happen next year!

Would anyone like to continue being in the board?

Özgun: Yes! I want to because I think I have many things to do for SWG.

Sabina: Yes, very much!

Ángel: I would love to continue, but it is time to end my PhD and I cannot focus on it while being in the board of SWG.

Patricia: After 1,5 years in the Sports Working Group I think it is time for some new people in the board other than me. However, I will continue as a member and help out as much as possible to see the projects that we have been working on will become reality.

Why would you encourage others to become part of SWG?

Ángel: To understand that AEGEE is more than fun and traveling, and show to them that Europe needs volunteers to improve the society and make life easier for people with difficulties of all kinds.

Patricia: Because being a part of a Working Group is an experience where one can learn a lot and develop skills such as creativity, teamwork, learning about cultural differences and so on. In the board there is a need for many different skills, and thus there have been difficult times, but I have really enjoyed working together with Ozgun, Angel and Sabina during this past year!

Özgun: It is a new part of your AEGEE experience. It gives you a nice start on the European level and it is great for those who love sports. Sports events are not only about physical activity, they can also help us create a better future.

Sabina: Because sports are the best tool to connect healthy activities, possibility for establishing contacts very quickly, to provide uncomplicated get-togethers, overcome language barriers and cultural reservations.


Written by Patricia Anthony, Secretary of the Sports Working Group