How the Johan Cruyff Courts help young people move up?
The world is evolving rapidly and it’s our mission to provide companies with the tools they need to move up in their industry. These includes technologies and services but also skilled people.
Each year our teams of consultants and experts are joined by several younger employees from our various apprenticeship programmes. They have learned how they can serve you and inspire us as representatives of the new generations.
Helping young people move up: the Johan Cruyff Foundation story
No matter how fast the world changes and businesses are transforming, one thing never changes: investing in young people is investing in tomorrow and the opportunities of our children to find their place and move up in society.
That’s also what the Johan Cruyff Foundation does. Proudly supported by BT Benelux and founded by legendary soccer player and coach Johan Cruyff, the organisation encourages young people to be physically active in order to move up in society, especially when they need some extra support.
Just before Christmas 2016, the year in which Johan Cruyff unfortunately passed away, we joined the Johan Cruyff Foundation in opening its second Johan Cruyff Court in Belgium, in the township in Molenbeek (Brussels). This initiative goes hand in hand with a fundraising action to support the victims of the attacks in Brussels through a song contest that runs until April 25th under the name Playandpeace.
You can help by purchasing the song that has been made and is entitled “Change Our Game”. You can purchase it here and learn more about the project on our Facebook page and on playandpeace.com.
Sports and community to inspire new generations
Following the 14 rules of Johan Cruyff, which are an inspiration to business leaders as well, several of such Cruyff Courts exist in The Netherlands and beyond. Yet, what is their purpose?
Mohamed Meftah is a coordinator who is closely involved with the first Belgian Cruyff Court, opened in the city of Mechelen in 2014.
Mohamed, can you start by telling us how the Cruyff Court in Mechelen is used and what role it plays in the local community?
Mohamed Meftah: The city is really proud about its Cruyff Court, which is designed to be far more than only a soccer field and has an important social function in the neighbourhood where it’s housed. In that neighbourhood, Otterbeek, there are many children. Thanks to the Court activities and the active involvement of the local residents, they learn to respect each other, become responsible and get integrated in a playful way. By emphasizing the active involvement of the neighbourhood we stimulate the collaboration between the local youngster, the city council, schools and associations, again strengthening that social function.
In fact, the Court is used the while year by schools, local associations and so on. On top of that, the Community Coaches organise 6 vs 6 events, connecting the different Cruyff Courts and enabling boys and girls from various Courts to compete.
So, it’s about far more than sports and playing soccer?
Mohamed Meftah: Most certainly. Sports and soccer are more than just a pass-time as well. Sports has connections with many other aspects such as education, health and integration.
The 14 rules of Johan Cruyff embody these values. These 14 rules are really a sort of behavioural rules everyone agrees with and can be reminded about if needed. Themes such as respect, togetherness, creativity and initiative serve as guides for children to make them more conscious about their individual responsibilities and how to deal with one another, all while they are exercising and moving.
A Cruyff Court and a Schoolplein14 (note: another initiative) are meeting places where all these themes take centre stage.
Sounds great. What does it mean for you personally?
Mohamed Meftah: It is very gratifying to be able to coach others and get the best out of them. It’s just heart-warming to see what youngsters can do if they want. I enjoy working with them and assist them in taking a critical look at their plans. The fact that I can help a lot of youngsters is more an emotional choice than a rational one. It’s a drive.
Working together is a recurrent theme in my job so that helps as at the Cruyff Courts it’s all about collaboration too. Children tend to test the limits now and then and it’s great if you can align them. Last but not least, by working closer together I can also inspire their sense of entrepreneurship and creativity.
Collaboration, entrepreneurship, working together, creativity, investing in the future, moving up and changing the game. It does sound familiar in business in the age of digital transformation too. Thanks, Mohamed, and here is the link to get that song again so you can help us help others.