The impact The World Games 2021 will have on the city of Birmingham will stretch far beyond the athletes who participate and the spectators who fill the venues.
Not only will The 2021 Games have a significant impact on Birmingham’s economy, but thanks to efforts from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, members of the Birmingham Organizing Committee and a group of committed educators across the state, the impact of The Games will last for years after the last medal has been awarded.
In November 2019, more than 40 educators from throughout the state participated in a two-day workshop to brainstorm ways to bring The World Games 2021 into kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms across Alabama through the “Live Healthy, Play Global” initiative.
The World Games 2021 Vice President of Community Engagement Kathy Boswell said the wheels are already in motion to take what was learned from the event and get it into classroom curriculums.
“Out of those 40 or so attendees, there’s a smaller design team that has been pulled together,” Boswell said. “They’ll take the ideas those educators thought of at the workshop and begin to build. They’ll be designing toolkits and resources that will be accessible to the teachers online to use in their classrooms.”
Boswell added that the team of teachers left the workshop fully equipped with the knowledge needed to incorporate the work of The World Games 2021 into several aspects of a curriculum.
“There were three questions asked,” Boswell explained. “Did you leave understanding The World Games 2021 more than before? The answer was yes. Did you learn about sports you didn’t realize were a part of The World Games 2021? Yes. Did you see a sport you would be willing to attend? Yes. There was 100% agreement on those three key questions. That was the greatest takeaway, knowing they left with that knowledge and now can become advocates for information about the event.”
According to Boswell, The 2021 Games will be incorporated into history, civics and physical education classes across Alabama. Boswell said the Birmingham Organizing Committee felt it was important to offer students ways to learn about different cultures in their home state.
“There are pieces of The World Games 2021 that are truly foreign to this community and to our kids,” Boswell said. “They’re being exposed to completely fresh experiences and sports.”
Plus, Boswell said, it’s always exciting to see people try out new sports.
“Sports is something that brings people together,” Boswell said. “It’s been so much fun to see people learn something new. You’re hearing titles of sports that some people have never heard of. To watch them be able to participate and play has been fun.”
As much fun as it’s already been, Boswell said she’s mostly looking forward to see where the education program will go from here.
“I think what really excites me is where this will go,” Boswell said. “The goal is to have a finished product to introduce to the schools by August 2020, so there’s a mass launch of toolkits and resources.”
Once implemented, students all over the state will start to learn all about the event, through 2021 and beyond.
To learn more about the Live Healthy, Play Global education initiative, please visit The World Games 2021 website.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.