Jan, Henri, Filip, Lara, Oskars– these are five of 50 ambassadors which are selected as young ambassadors for the prePLAY project, a doping-prevention project in 5 European countries, which is funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. The main responsibility of the young ambassadors will be to conduct doping prevention and awareness-raising activities in their respective countries with a main focus on grassroots level sports and athletes.
The recruitment process for the young ambassadors started in March 2015 when the National Anti-Doping Organisations of Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia and Croatia and the Maltese Olympic Committee started publicising for appropriate candidates. Criteria for becoming an ambassador were (initially) being between 18 and 22 years old, which was later expanded, and either being a former athlete or having some other experiences in sports. Candidates must also be good communicators, should have a very good management and teamwork skills and should be highly motivated to work as a young ambassador on a voluntary basis.
Based on reviews of candidates’ resumes and individual interviews, each project partner has selected 10 ambassadors. After the recruitment of the young ambassadors, each of the five project partners organized and initial meeting and seminar. The purpose of the meeting was that the ambassadors got to know each other and received basic information about the national and international anti-doping programme and the ambassadors’ role in the prePLAY project.
Before the young ambassadors start conducting doping-prevention and awareness-raising activities in schools, sport clubs and during sport events in the second half of 2015, they will meet for a 5-day educational camp in Portorose, Slovenia, next month. The aim of the camp is to disseminate knowledge about the fight against doping among junior ambassadors and to improve and consolidate their presentation and communication skills. The programme incorporates theoretical lectures and practical workshops. Highlights of the education camp will be the visit of some former Slovenian top athletes and the discussion around the negative effects of prohibited substances with a former GDR top athlete.
At the end of the camp, each ambassador should have a good understanding of the world of anti-doping and the work as an anti-doping ambassador so that they can start with the implementation of the awareness-raising activities once they have returned to their home countries.