The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is an award-winning charity with a social purpose to inform, educate, and safeguard young people against gaming and gambling harms. As a new Life Skills Programme option for academies this season, YGAM has been busy visiting clubs across the EFL delivering a workshop called ‘Gaming: A Healthy Balance’.
The latest club to welcome YGAM’s support was Forest Green Rovers as part of an enrichment programme taking place over half-term. The week focused on the U9-U16 academy players was shaped with a combination of life skills alongside football training, which included sessions delivered by the club’s apprentices, forming part of their UEFA C coaching qualification.
YGAM provided workshops to the foundation and youth development phases to explore the concept of gaming and how it can feature as a healthy balance in everyday life. Education Manager and expert Ryan Phillips from YGAM was on hand to take the young people through a learning journey which included the history of consoles, popular games and personal experiences of gaming.
Most importantly, the workshop covered the risks associated with gaming such as inappropriate content, age ratings and the psychological techniques used by technology companies to profit financially from users. There were heaps of discussion around time management, routines, beliefs and the emotions attached to the life of a gamer. It was clear that the aim of the workshop was to highlight both the potential positives and negatives of gaming, to help young people consider and arrive at what will be a healthy balance for them as an individual.
Simon Williams (Life Skills Manager, League Football Education): “There was more time spent with hands up in the air than with hands down, the children were desperate to ask questions and share their gaming experiences with everyone in the room. Forest Green have built an open culture and that as an example in itself shows that these young people want a space to talk about gaming and it was insightful to hear their thoughts on the good and bad. I always leave these workshops enthused and motivated to make sure more can be available for the younger academy players because you can feel the energy and impact of connecting them with experts on the things they are using in everyday life. It also shows that the club understands there is more going on for a young person than football, and that they are giving them wider opportunities to be safe and happy.”
Chris Courtney (Head Of Academy Player Care, Forest Green Rovers): “It was great to have Ryan from YGAM with our U12-U16s. The workshop was engaging and thought-provoking, with players sharing their knowledge and experiences regarding gaming and highlighting some potential risks. These workshops filled part of an action-packed day for our schoolboy players during their school holidays, which as a Category 3 Academy, we find is a great time to invite our players up to the stadium to take part in a variety of life skills and personal development workshops in addition to some time on the pitch. A huge thank you to Simon and the LFE for providing us with the opportunity to bring in a number of knowledgeable individuals that provide great variety to our programme”.