Generation Games: intergenerational sport for all event

The Generation Games is an inclusive, intergenerational sport event for people of all ages. Everyone in the community can take part, in a pleasant and non-competitive atmosphere. The creative concept, including step-by-step guidelines, is available at no cost, a do-it-yourself event. Many cities around the world have organised an edition.

Stage of the project

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Idea

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Starting Up

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Implementation

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Realised

Why was this project started?

We believe there is great value in intergenerational collaboration. People of different ages form great teams and can complement each other. That’s why we decided to develop a creative concept based on sport and play for mixed-age teams. People of all ages, backgrounds and life experiences can learn a lot from each other. Intergenerational collaboration is all about connecting new ideas and fresh approach of young generations with valuable experience and lessons learned by older generations.

The Generation Games event brings generations together via sport and play. The event stimulates valuable interaction. It works as a two-way street: (grand)parents can learn from their (grand)children and vice versa. The event is not just for family teams: neighbors, friends, students and professors, we see all kinds of teams during the event.

The preparations of the Generation Games event are at least as important as the actual day of sports itself. As an intergenerational learning experience. That’s why the concept is based on the principle of do-it-yourself. By the community, for the community.

The results of the project so far

The first edition was held in 2012, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Since then, the concept has been picked up by several cities. The concept is well-received in cities around the world. Generation Games editions were organized in cities such as Oslo, Mumbai, Amsterdam, Lausanne, Lillehammer, Salem, Tampere, Viana do Castello, Budapest. Several partnerships have been established (e.g. with Universities and schools, and also organisations such as Olympic Museum in Lausanne (since 2015, the Generation Games is also part of the Olympic Week in Lausanne), and with the World Health Organization in Geneva: healthy ageing, and the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity). The participating teams in editions in cities around the world are very enthusiastic and indicate they realise the importance of involving everyone in sport and play. We now prepare For coming year, we will set up research on the effects of the Generation Games concept.

The event provides young talent, like students, the opportunity to get valuable experience, and older generations the chance to pass on their knowledge. For instance, the logo of the Generation Games was designed by an intern at a design agency, coached by an experienced designer. Almost every element in the concept of the Generation Games is the result of intergenerational teamwork.

The ambition is to gradually grow in number of editions and impact. We aim to contribute to a number of SDGs (3, 10, 11, 17 in particular). We will focus on clear performance indicators and we try to measure effects of the Generation Games.

What are specific, distinctive, strong elements in this project?

Some lessons we would like to share:
1.Make sure you involve everyone in the community! There is so much talent and enthusiasm in evert community, and people are willing to contribute in many ways.
2.Connect with local sports clubs, elderly homes, national sports federations, schools and universities and other organisation who can support in countless ways
3.Focus on partnerships, not so much on sponsorships. Through partnerships, much is possible. Try to set up the event with limited budget and focus on community engagement.
4.It’s really easy to organise, so don’t worry. Any city can make use of the materials and checklists we provide.
5.Learn from previous editions, and share your own experiences with other cities who would like to set up an edition!
6.A central square or park can be used as location for the event, as an urban playground.
7. Start the preparations in time.
8.Have fun while preparing the event.

Which specific lessons, do's and don'ts would you like to share? What would be suggestions for others when preparing or implementing the project in their own city?

The creative concept, including tools and designs, is open source available. We want to enable every community to organise an edition, without any barriers.

So: it’s open source, ‘do-it-yourself’, truly intergenerational, in every aspect. The participating teams in every edition indicate they appreciate the fun and non-competitive atmosphere, in which everyone can feel at ease. Some other distinctive aspects are the flexibility (a city can decide on the number of sports, the kind of sports, the scale number of participants).
And it’s all about volunteers. Literally everyone can play a role.

The Generation Games has four interrelated objectives: 1. intergenerational collaboration (what can you learn from each other?); 2. inclusive approach (involve all talents during the preparations of the event); 3. healthy and active lifestyle for people of all ages; 4. cross-border collaboration (cities share the experiences of their edition with others).

The overall objective: positive community impact. Since the concept is flexible, cities themselves can decide on the scale, the number of sports, kind of sports, and so forth. Anyone in the community should be able to set up an edition.

Have others adopted, or shown interest in adopting, your idea in their own area?

Yes, several cities have organised an edition of the Generation Games. After the first edition on 23 June 2012, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, many cities have organised an edition. Some of the cities: Oslo (Norway), Viana do Castello (Portugal), Tampere (Finland), Mumbai (India), Salem (Massachusetts, USA), Lillehammer (Norway), Budapest (Hungary). In the Netherlands: Gouda, Breda, Utrecht, Rotterdam. Most cities organise their edition every year. In 2021, Lillehammer organised their 5th edition. In collaboration with the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Generation Games offers intergenerational activities during the yearly Olympic Week in Lausanne. And we collaborate with the World Health Organization as well.

Can you tell us how valuable this project was for you?

You can rank your answers on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).

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1. How valuable was this information for you?
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2. Will you use this information in your own practice?
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3. Could this project be shared to - and implemented in - your own city?
No I won't
Yes I think so