As part of our club’s 50th anniversary, Otters ASC organised a waterpolo and swimming festival during the summer months. This was only possible by twinning with the Munxar local council and tapping EU funds “Measure 4 – GAGF LEADER Programme” – ‘Measure 4 of the
GAGF LEADER Programme – “Rejuvenating Gozo” – Improve the Attractiveness of Living in Gozo for young persons and young families – which measure falls under the LEADER Programme (Community Led Local Development) of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014 – 2020, which is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and falls under the responsibility of Funds and Programme Division within the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
We visited six different bays around the island of Gozo, where we installed a waterpolo pitch and with the help of the education department and also the local councils we invited the children who reside in the nearby villages to attend. The children were introduced to the world of waterpolo and swimming under the guidance of our professional coaches.
This project was innovative and the first of its kind in the Maltese archipelago and was held in summer 2021. It involved a holistic outreach programme towards young children and introduce them to Waterpolo and Swimming through various fun games which were held at various bays in Gozo. The targeted ages of children varied from 5 years up to 15 years old and were divided into further groups to comply with COVID related restrictions and also to provide a more individual approach aimed at the different abilities of the participants. Applications were launched in collaboration with the Gozo college, church schools, and the Local Councils.
The main goals in this project was to:
- Emphasise in the participation of girls in a sport that on the island of Gozo is still a male dominated area.
- Provide well trained coaches as special needs educators
- Educate parents and children on the importance of a diverse active lifestyle from very young age.
- To promote health and safety skills in the sea and other aquatic environments amongst children, in an island where swimming is a cultural and national hobby.
- Emphasise on the fun aspect of sport as opposed to a competitive mentality; especially for young children.
This project was also intended to be the much needed stepping stone for young people and children in Gozo to explore a sport which to date has only been limited to 3 months in Summer because of the lack of amenities to practice this sport. This is also in line with the expected opening of the public sports pool complex in the foreseeable futurer. Following this summer, the project has a continuation plan at Otters Asc premises and in the near future, at the newly built aquatic centre in Victoria.
We exist to create memorable swimming and waterpolo experiences for every age and ability, focusing on fun and progression, and to promote the sport we love to as many people as possible!